Latest News

Airbus Delivers Inmarsat-6 Satellite to Florida Ahead of SpaceX Launch 

By Rachel Jewett | January 30, 2023

      The Inmarsat 6-F2 satellite loaded onto an Airbus Beluga aircraft. Photo: Airbus

      Airbus has delivered the Inmarsat-6 to Florida ahead of its February launch, the manufacturer announced Monday. The Inmarsat satellite, I-6 F2, is part of the operator’s work to upgrade its Elera L-band and Global Xpress Ka-band networks. 

      Airbus Defence and Space shipped the satellite from Airbus’ testing facility in Toulouse, France, on the Airbus A300-600ST Super Transporter aircraft, known as Beluga. This was the second time that Airbus transported a satellite to Florida this way since launching the Airbus Beluga Transport service in early 2022. 

      Inmarsat said that spacecraft experts now have approximately three weeks for final testing and integration before I-6 F2 launches on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in February.

      This is the second Inmarsat-6 satellite, and it is based on the Airbus Eurostar E3000 spacecraft. With a launch mass of 5.5 tons, it is a dual-payload satellite, with a large 9 m aperture L-band antenna and six multi-beam Ka-band antennas. It also has a modular digital processor to provide full routing flexibility over up to 8000 channels and dynamic power allocation to over 200 spot beams in L-band. 

      Mitsubishi Heavy Industries launched its twin satellite, I-6 F1, in December 2021. Is scheduled to enter service soon. 

      “This is the 10th GEO telecommunications satellite we have built for our long-term customer Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communication services, and with I-6 F1 the satellites will enable a step change in the capabilities and capacity for their Elera services, and deliver significant additional capacity for their Global Xpress network,” said François Gaullier, head of Telecommunications & Navigation Systems at Airbus.