Inmarsat, Communications Satellites

Inmarsat is an international satellite communications company providing voice telephony and high speed internet connections for use on land, sea and in the air.

Ten geostationary satellites provide global coverage for mobile users, aimed at international travellers, the maritime industry, disaster relief organisations and journalists.

Inmarsat is working with the European Space Agency (ESA) on the Alphasat satellite – part of an ESA initiative to develop a spacecraft that can carry a large communications payload. It is scheduled for completion in 2012 and will provide service over Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mission facts

  • Inmarsat was founded in 1979 to provide seafarers with essential safety and distress communications.

  • The Inmarsat-4 satellites are among the world’s most advanced communications satellites. Two were launched in 2005, providing coverage to 98 per cent of the world’s population. A third will be launched in 2008.

  • The satellites are controlled from Inmarsat headquarters in London via satellite access stations around the world.

  • The Inmarsat spacecraft fly in geostationary orbit 35,786 km above the Earth.

UK involvement

Astrium Limited built three Inmarsat satellites.

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