Key Inmarsat rocket flight from Kazakhstan ‘a success’

A rocket mission to put a new spacecraft in orbit for London-based Inmarsat has been declared a success. The Russian Proton vehicle ejected the satellite high above Papua New Guinea in the early hours of Saturday (GMT). The spacecraft is needed by Inmarsat to complete its new global telecommunications network.
This will offer customers substantially faster mobile broadband connections at a lower cost, and should come into service towards the end of the year. "The launch is just the start of a quite lengthy process," explained Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce. "We’ve got to test the new satellite’s systems and sub-systems, and do the full integration with the other satellites in the network, and with the ground infrastructure. That’s why it takes until the end of the year," he told BBC News.
The new network, known as Global Xpress, is hugely important to the fortunes of company, which is fighting to maintain its dominance of the mobile satellite services market. Its principal customers are found in the shipping sector, but Inmarsat also caters for any groups that need telecoms away from a fixed line. These include oil and gas platforms, aeroplanes, military deployments, aid agencies in disaster areas, and even TV news crews reporting from trouble zones.