The third satellite in the Inmarsat-4 (I-4) constellation could be launched next spring under a contract signed with International Launch Services (ILS).
The I-4 satellites are capable of delivering advanced voice and broadband data communications, which are being used for newsgathering applications from the field via satellite phone for live and store-and-forward transfer of field-edited stories.
EADS Astrium built three I-4 satellites. The first, I-4 F1, was launched in March 2005 and has an orbital slot over the Indian Ocean at 64 degrees east. The second, I-4 F2, was launched in November 2005 and provides coverage for the Americas from an orbital slot at 154 degrees west.
The I-4 F3 was a ground spare for those two launches, but its launch and orbital position will extend the I-4 constellation.
The plan is for ILS to launch the I-4 F3 satellite in March or April 2008 on a Proton launch vehicle from its Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
For more information, visit www.inmarsat.com.