As Inmarsat prepares to launch the first Global Xpress Ka-band satellite later this year, Honeywell engineers have successfully completed the preliminary design review of satcom hardware that will be installed in aircraft. The review covered the satcom terminals and antenna subsystems that Honeywell will manufacture for commercial and business aircraft. This included “external interface control documents and fuselage- and tail-mount antenna specifications,” according to the company.
Global Xpress is Inmarsat’s newest satellite network, consisting of three Ka-band satellites. The first is expected to launch by the end of this year, for global service availability in 2015.
Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said the system will deliver “very high data speeds to fast-moving aircraft, [up to] 50 Mbps for commercial Ka-band and essentially more than that for military Ka-band.” Current Ku-band satcom speeds offer 128 to 256 Kbps, and Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband clocks along at 432 Kbps or in the 700 Kbps range with certain enhancements such as the aggregation service offered by service provider Satcom1.
Satcom Direct and Satcom1 have said they will provide Global Xpress services for their satellite communications customers.