Turning away from SpaceX, Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L) has now signed a contract with Arianespace to launch its S-band satellite for the European Aviation Network (EAN) on an Ariane 5 heavy lift launch vehicle.
The EAN payload is part of a ‘condosat’ constructed by Thales Alenia Space, which incorporates a second payload for Hellas-Sat. The condosat is scheduled to be launched from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in mid-2017.
The condosat was originally scheduled for launch with SpaceX. However, following the delay in SpaceX’s launch schedule, Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat took the decision to move the condosat to an Arianespace launch.
Inmarsat will launch Inmarsat-5 F4, a Global Xpress (GX) satellite, with SpaceX. This launch is planned for H1 2017 and Inmarsat is looking forward to continuing to work with SpaceX going forward.
Michele Franci, the CTO at Inmarsat, stated that this launch schedule supports the introduction of the firm's ground-breaking integrated satellite and air-to-ground network, developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom, which will deliver a very high capacity broadband Wi-Fi experience for passengers flying throughout Europe.