Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Russian Rocket Launches New Communications Satellite

Peter B. de Selding writes on Space.com:

The third and last Inmarsat 4 mobile-broadband satellite was successfully placed into orbit Tuesday by an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton Breeze M rocket, ILS and Inmarsat announced.

The launch completed a decade-long, $1.5 billion investment by London-based Inmarsat and returned ILS to commercial service five months after a failure that forced a redesign of the Proton Breeze M upper stage.

The 13,139-pound (5,960-kg) Inmarsat 4 F3 satellite will be operated from 98 degrees west. Once its operations begin there, the two other Inmarsat 4 satellites will be moved to new orbital slots to optimize global broadband data services from the three-satellite system. Moving these two satellites will cause partial shutdowns of Inmarsat broadband services for a five-week period as the Inmarsat 4 F2 is moved from 53 degrees west to 25 degrees west, and then for a three-week period during the relocation of Inmarsat 4 F1 from 64 degrees east to 143.5 degrees east.

Operating three satellites in geostationary orbit will permit Inmarsat to offer broadband data and hand-held telephone access globally, except for the polar regions. The two previously launched Inmarsat 4 satellites, in orbit since March and November 2005, have provided services to 85 percent of the Earth's land mass but have left broad coverage gaps in the Pacific Ocean region.

More here.


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