16:29 09 December 2013
Britain’s first ever commercial space project has commenced. The Proton rocket carrying the first Inmarsat l-5 spacecraft has left the misty Baikonur pad, marking the company’s first spacecraft that will be used for its global telecommunications network.
The company also confirmed plans to launch up to three more spacecraft in its GX (Ka-band Global Xpress) system and will spend a whopping £1bn total for its space programme.
This project will allow Inmarsat customers to have access to much higher bandwidth connections which is up to 50mbps download and 5mbps upload.
Ruy Pinto, Inmarsat's chief technical officer, explained: "When we started thinking about this project five years ago, we'd come to the conclusion that you could not grow much further the L-band franchise - not in terms of revenue, but in terms of capacity.”
"We have hit the limits of all-you-can-eat high-data-rate packages in L-band; there simply isn't enough spectrum. [This] is the natural next step to deliver the types of packages our customers want.”
Inmarsat's Michele Franci added: "The physics of Ka allows higher throughput. It has had a vulnerability in the past because of its susceptibility to 'rain fade', to bad weather, but technology has largely taken care of this problem.”
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