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Inmarsat Satellite Launch Delayed

By TechWeb News

Inmarsat Group Ltd. said Friday that an “anomaly” in the final stages of the countdown forced the company to delay the launch of its first of three satellites that will make up a global broadband wireless network.

The London-based company said it hoped to launch the Inmarsat 4-F1 from Cape Canaveral in Florida between 4:42 p.m. and 4:58 p.m. EST. Friday.

The launch had been scheduled for the same time Thursday, but was postponed “after an anomaly was encountered in the final stages of the countdown at Cape Canaveral,” the satellite operator said in a statement.

The six-ton Inmarsat 4, built by European Aeronautics Defense and Space Co., will be carried into space on an Atlas V rocket with three solid-fuel boosters.

The launch is part of a $1.5 billion investment Inmarsat is making in building an Internet-based wireless network that is expected to be used primarily by governments, military, relief organizations and news agencies operating in remote areas of the globe.

The first satellite will provide data services up to 432KB per second to Asia, Africa and Europe. The second, scheduled for launch later this year, will serve North America, and the third satellite has been designated as a ground spare. It could, however, be launched in 2006, if the company finds that it’s needed to handle network traffic.

Inmarsat currently provides data services through a nine-satellite fleet using older technology that delivers from 56KB per second to a maximum of 128KB per second. The new satellites are expected to be 20 times more powerful than the older technology, company spokesman Chris McLaughlin said.

by [a former member] at 2005-03-13 15:26:46 UTC (ed. Jun 24 2006 ) New York City , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

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