Inmarsat selects MHI’s H3 vehicle to launch new satellite

Inmarsat
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Inmarsat has signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for the launch of its future communications satellites onboard the latter’s new H3 vehicle.

The deal has made Inmarsat the first commercial customer to use the new H3 rocket, which is expected to make its first flight in 2020.

As part of the new agreement, H3 is scheduled to start launching Inmarsat missions into space after 2022.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said: “As our company grows – expanding into new markets and opening up new opportunities for our customers to develop their businesses – we continually seek new technology partners that display an outstanding commitment to innovation and excellence.

“We believe that H3 represents a world-class innovation and one that will deliver an effective and efficient service to place future Inmarsat satellites into orbit.”

“It was for these reasons that in 2017 we selected MHI as a launch partner and why today we are delighted to be announcing that Inmarsat is the first commercial customer to select MHI’s new H3 launch vehicle.

“We believe that H3 represents a world-class innovation and one that will deliver an effective and efficient service to place future Inmarsat satellites into orbit.”

According to the agreement between Inmarsat and MHI in September 2017, MHI’s H-IIA rocket will be used to deploy the Inmarsat-6 F1, the first satellite in the Inmarsat-6 fleet.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space, the Inmarsat-6 F1 is slated for launch in 2020.

MHI Space Systems vice-president and senior general manager Masahiro Atsumi said: “Today, development of the H3 launch vehicle is proceeding steadily forward under the leadership of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with MHI serving as primary contractor working closely with key component manufacturers.”

Since 2005, MHI’s Launch Services unit has conducted 41 successful launches using the company’s current H-IIA and H-IIB rockets.

Inmarsat selects MHI’s H3 vehicle to launch new satellite