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Inmarsat and Astrium sign Alphasat I-XL satellite contract


* New generation of advanced geomobile communications – Inmarsat XL mission to augment Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service
* Alphasat will use the protoflight model of new European Alphabus platform and carry ESA technology demonstration payloads

London.-Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has awarded a contract to the European satellite leader Astrium for the Alphasat I-XL satellite to augment its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service. Alphasat will be one of the world’s largest telecommunications satellites and Inmarsat expects its investment in the satellite - excluding insurance - will be will be in the region of €260 million.

The Alphasat contract is supported by ESA and national space agencies. Astrium is prime contractor for the satellite that will incorporate a number of innovative features developed throughout Europe. Key telecommunications payload technology will be designed and manufactured in the UK.

The new satellite Alphasat I-XL, will support a new generation of mobile technologies and enable communications across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Alphasat will provide increased capacity able to handle more than 750 channels in L band with improved quality particularly for satellite phone users.

The I-XL will, through increased efficiency of spectrum use, enable:

* robust communications in crisis and disaster emergencies;
* potential connection of houses, schools and businesses in remote locations, via Inmarsat BGAN portable data terminals;
* governments to connect with dispersed populations;
* essential voice and data communications for a wide range of industry sectors such as media, maritime, oil and gas.

Andrew Sukawaty, CEO Inmarsat said: “Alphasat will enable us to offer improved services through greater capacity, better quality communications and faster download times to existing and future Inmarsat customers.”

Evert Dudok, CEO of Astrium said: “Astrium is proud to be have been chosen to implement this ambitious satellite programme that will demonstrate a large number of innovations, both at platform and payload level, and position Astrium firmly as a world leader for mobile satellite communications technology.“

In addition to the Inmarsat geomobile mission, Alphasat payload capacity will be used to support the development of three Technology Demonstration Payloads (TDPs) selected by ESA for flight on Alphasat.

The Alphasat satellite will utilise the protoflight model of the Alphabus platform, currently under development by the European satellite industry.

Alphasat I-XL will feature a new generation digital signal processor for the payload, and a 12-metre aperture antenna reflector. The spacecraft will have a launch mass of more than 6,000kg at launch, an electrical power of 12kW. Planned for launch in 2012, Alphasat I-XL has a design lifetime of 15 years.


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