Jet ConneX Update: Firmly on Track

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London | October 21, 2014– When the Inmarsat-5 F1 satellite was launched into orbit in December 2013, it brought Inmarsat a step closer to delivering a connectivity revolution: smoother, faster communications for millions of customers worldwide.

Inmarsat’s global Ka-band network, Global Xpress, is set to revolutionise inflight connectivity for the business aviation market with Jet ConneX aviation services; both for passenger communications and operational connectivity.

There are two essential elements for inflight connectivity: reliable global coverage and technology that is designed specifically for the rigours of operating an aircraft.

Global Xpress is the only global Ka-band network designed around the requirements of mobile assets, such as aircraft. The ability to keep aircraft connected throughout every flight is an inherent part of Jet ConneX aviation services.

While other Ka-band solutions were originally designed for TV broadcast type services and therefore have limited coverage over oceans, passengers using Jet ConneX aviation services will have a continuous, consistent service, across all time zones as traffic is handed seamlessly across Inmarsat’s owned and operated global satellite network, as opposed to a ‘patchwork’ network that’s stitched together from multiple satcom assets owned and operated by a variety of organisations.

There is an important third factor: performance. Jet ConneX aviation services will deliver up to 50Mbps, providing reliable, high-speed broadband.

Business Aviation

Regardless of where you are, being out of touch is no longer an option for business executives. That is as true in a plane as it is in a taxi or a restaurant. It is therefore essential for every business and VIP aircraft to be equipped with inflight connectivity.

People travelling in business jets need to be able to use their phones, access email, browse the internet and read the news wherever they are in the world. Likewise, the flight and cabin crew need consistent and constant connectivity to make the flight as efficient and comfortable as possible.

While communications connectivity is at the core of what Jet ConneX aviation services will provide to the aviation industry, Jet ConneX will also be able to offer new applications, video streaming and high-speed broadband Internet access for enhanced browsing. Jet ConneX will provide enough bandwidth and capacity to replicate an office experience in the sky. When Jet ConneX aviation services are commercially available and users come truly to understand the potential, Inmarsat believes that a further generation of passenger, flight deck and cabin crew applications will be developed.

Safety Services

For safety services and extra resilience, Jet ConneX will be complemented by Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and SwiftBroadband services, which operate over the Inmarsat-3 and 4 generation satellites, respectively, and that  deliver an average of 99.9% network availability. Inmarsat will have the only global satellite network that combines both Ka-band and L-band technologies.

The Satellites

The first of three Global Xpress satellites which form Inmarsat’s global Ka-band network, Inmarsat-5 F1, was launched on December 8, 2013 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Boeing-manufactured satellites are seven metres tall and weigh 3,750 kg. At the end of the assembly process, and before packaging up for transport, the satellites are subjected to tests that simulate the extremes of vibration and temperature to be experienced both during launch and in space. During the process, electronics inside the satellite operated at room temperature, despite a difference of around 300°C between the back and front of the satellite.

Forty eight days after its launch, the I-5 arrived in geostationary orbit, above the Indian Ocean Region around 23,000 miles (35,786 km) from earth, where the gravitational pulls of earth, the sun and the moon balance one another. After rigorous testing, the satellite entered commercial service on 1 July 2014.

The second satellite, Inmarsat-5 F2, will cover the Atlantic Ocean Region and the Americas. Inmarsat-5 F3 will complete the constellation, covering the Pacific Ocean Region.. F2 and F3 are expected to be placed into orbit in a timeframe that would permit the launch of GX services on a global basis by the end of the first half of 2015.

Each satellite is served by two ground stations. The Indian Ocean Region satellite is serviced by ground stations on Fucino and Nemea, in Italy and Greece, respectively. Inmarsat-5 F2 will be managed by ground stations in Lino Lakes, Minnesota and Winnipeg in Canada. The Pacific Ocean Region’s ground stations are undergoing final preparations in Auckland and Warkworth, both in New Zealand.

Satellites Terminals

Inmarsat partner Honeywell is responsible for the development and production of JetWave avionics that enable aircraft connection to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellites. Honeywell’s development schedule is on course for the development of the terminal, which  has started the RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) DO 160 testing and qualification phase.  Completion of this phase is a key milestone because it demonstrates the ability of the JetWave terminals to operate in aviation’s demanding environmental conditions.  This is a key component for securing FAA approval that is required to integrate with and operate on aircraft.

2015 – Jet ConneX service entry

Jet ConneX aviation services and the JetWave avionics will be available for the business aviation market in the first half of 2015. Inmarsat’s business jet customers will have at their disposal greater consistency, better on-board communications including high-speed mobile and fixed broadband services at speeds of up to 50Mbps, all on a global basis.

Jet ConneX aviation services are available through Honeywell’s distribution partner network of world leading in-flight connectivity providers, including Gogo Business Aviation (formerly Aircell), OnAir, Rockwell Collins (ARINC), Satcom1 and Satcom Direct. Honeywell has also recently announced a forward fit agreement with Bombardier Business Aircraft from early 2016, with other manufacturers expected to quickly follow suit.

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