Inmarsat Begins I-4 Satellite Repositioning Effort

 - January 29, 2009, 9:46 AM

Inmarsat last month began repositioning its I-4 satellite constellation in an effort aimed at providing full global SwiftBroadband coverage and improving network performance. Moving the three I-4 satellites into new orbital slots 24,000 miles in space is a complicated task, but officials say the result will be worth the effort. As part of the repositioning initiative, Inmarsat is renaming the I-4 satellites, replacing the F1, F2 and F3 designations with I-4 Americas, I-4 EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Asia) and I-4 AsiaPacific. The third and final I-4 satellite went into orbit last August after several months of delays resulting from the failure of a Russian Proton rocket.

The I-4 satellites’ new orbital parking spots will position them more directly over the earth’s landmasses, meaning better coverage angles resulting in optimized performance, according to the satellite maker. There will be brief service outages for a small number of SwiftBroadband and BGAN (broadband global area network) customers until February 24, when the repositioning is scheduled to be completed. Inmarsat said SwiftBroadband terminals should automatically re-point to the I-4 satellites’ new locations after each scheduled outage. The service provides in-flight transmission of data at rates as high as 432 kilobits per second.      

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