Inmarsat GX5 is prepared for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 launch from the Spaceport
The fifth Global Xpress satellite – Inmarsat GX5 – is getting its first look inside the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility as pre-flight activity continues for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission in November.
Inmarsat GX5 was removed from its protective shipping container after being delivered late last week from France – where the spacecraft was produced by Thales Alenia Space – to French Guiana via cargo jetliner. The satellite subsequently was transferred by road to the Spaceport for payload processing.
The Inmarsat GX5 satellite is one of two passengers to be orbited on Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 flight, joining TIBA-1 – a communications spacecraft for Egypt, developed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus as co-prime contractors, with Thales Alenia Space acting as lead partner of the contract. TIBA-1 arrived at the Spaceport earlier this month and is advancing through its own pre-flight preparations.
Expanding the Global Xpress network
Inmarsat GX5 is a very high throughput communications satellite that will be fully integrated into Inmarsat’s current Global Xpress high-speed network – with a coverage area that is to include the Middle East, Europe and the Indian sub-continent.
Based on Thales Alenia Space’s upgraded Spacebus 4000 B2 platform, Inmarsat GX5 will deliver double the capacity of the entire existing Global Xpress fleet of satellites. It was designed for an operational lifetime of 16 years and will weigh approximately four metric tons at liftoff.
Arianespace’s launch of TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 – designated Flight VA250 – will be the fourth mission in 2019 with a heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the eighth this year across the company’s family of launchers, which also includes the medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.
A larger version of the photo above is available in the Gallery.