Inmarsat’s I-6 F1 satellite has connected to new ground stations in Perth and Merredin, Western Australia, as it aims to provide an upgrade in communications availability for the region.
I-6 F1 launched in December 2021 and spent seven months travelling to geostationary orbit above the Atlantic. The spacecraft is now at its final orbital slot above the Indian Ocean, and the company will begin increasing its capacity and transition services to the new satellite throughout 2023, beginning with the first customers from Q2.
The announcement follows the successful launch of I-6 F1’s twin – I-6 F2 – which lifted off from Cape Canaveral in February.
Like F1, I-6 F2 will reach its geostationary orbital slot later this year, where it will undergo in-orbit-testing. The satellite will enter operational service over Europe, Africa, and much of the Americas in mid-2024.
Built in the UK, the I-6 satellites are the company’s first hybrid satellites, featuring both L-band (ELERA) narrowband and Ka-band (Global Xpress) high-speed broadband communications payloads.
Each of the I-6 satellites offer 50% more L-band capacity than Inmarsat’s entire 1-4 generation of ELERA satellites, effectively doubling its total ELERA capacity. They also provide 20 Ka-band spot beams that can be directed to meet customer demand second-by-second.