The six-ton, London-double-decker-bus-size Inmarsat-4 communications satellite that Inmarsat launched in late March has taken over satcom transmission routing responsibility from the previous Inmarsat-3 satellite covering the Indian Ocean Region, according to company officials.
The handover of communications traffic from the I-3 to the new generation I-4 satellite occurred at 20:00 UTC on Saturday, May 28, after a brief communications outage in the region. Compared with the Inmarsat-3 satellite, the I-4 boasts 60 times more power, 25 times the receiver sensitivity, 16 times the capacity and 12 times greater efficiency in its use of radio spectrum, according to Inmarsat.
It is the largest commercial satellite ever deployed, with the capability to send and receive signals throughout a single global beam, 19 regional spot beams and 228 narrow spot beams. These beams will make possible forthcoming SwiftBroadband high-speed-data (432 kilobytes per second per channel) services for aircraft. Two more I-4 satellites scheduled for launch in the next year or so will expand the service globally.