Inmarsat lands European super-satellite deal

Inmarsat lands European super-satellite deal

Alphasat to support a new generation of mobile technologies

UK satellite firm Inmarsat has signed a multimillion pound contract with Astrium for the Alphasat satellite with the support of the European Space Agency and the British National Space Centre.

The new six-tonne Alphasat I-XL satellite carries five times the capacity of current space platforms, and will deliver high-bandwidth services, such as mobile internet, to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

"Alphasat will enable us to offer improved services through greater capacity, better quality communications and faster download times to existing and future Inmarsat customers," said Andrew Sukawaty, chief executive at Inmarsat.

"The key technology on the satellite was developed and manufactured in the UK, again proving that Britain is at the forefront of the new space race."

The Alphasat I-XL is expected to enhance communications in crisis and disaster emergencies.

Inmarsat also claimed that the satellite will connect houses, schools and businesses in remote locations, and enable governments to connect with dispersed populations.
Ian Pearson, Minister for Science and Innovation, said: "State-of-the-art satellite technology developed and manufactured in Britain proves that the UK is at the forefront of the satellite telecoms revolution and is setting the standards for the commercial use of space."

The project will help to create and retain over 500 hi-tech jobs within the Greater South East region during the development and operation of the satellite.

It will also help to develop a high level of skilled labour in the region and generate revenues for Inmarsat through subscriptions to satellite services.

Inmarsat expects its investment in the satellite, excluding insurance, to be in the region of €260m.