16 December 2021 – Inmarsat ORCHESTRA, the future network for global mobility and government communications, achieved its first milestone in space today with the successful activation of a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite payload.
The LEO satellite is testing new concepts and system configurations for ORCHESTRA’s proposed LEO constellation, which will seamlessly integrate with geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) satellites, and a terrestrial 5G network, to deliver a uniquely powerful global communications solution for mobility and government customers.
ORCHESTRA is the first global network of its kind; creating a global, multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network that will redefine connectivity at scale with the highest capacity for mobility worldwide and at hot spots across the world. It will deliver the fastest average speeds and the lowest average latency of any network, planned or in existence.
While details of the in-orbit testing remain confidential, Inmarsat has confirmed that the LEO demonstration satellite payload is testing concepts for LEO-to-ground and LEO-to-GEO communications, which are key
steps in delivering the unique capabilities proposed for ORCHESTRA. As the LEO satellite features a reprogrammable payload, additional concepts will be tested over the coming months.
Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Customers have expressed great excitement about Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA network and we are making fast progress to bring that network to reality. Development of the terrestrial network is proceeding well and we are now moving forward with live tests of ORCHESTRA’s LEO layer.
“Our vision for ORCHESTRA is a network that uses the right technology for the right purpose. We are not beholden to a single approach and believe that the best way to meet customer needs is a multidimensional approach that includes GEO, LEO and terrestrial 5G in a dynamic mesh that brings capacity to where it is needed in the most efficient way possible. Today’s announcement is yet another testament to the fact that Inmarsat is a company with commercial momentum and technology leadership.”
Yasrine Ibnyahya, Inmarsat’s Senior Director, Advanced Concepts and Technologies, said: “Our demonstration LEO satellite payload is designed to create new technologies and services that will transform the use of satellite communications by our mobility and government customers worldwide. Using software defined radio payloads in LEO, we are able to test, refine, retest and validate as many concepts as we need. It is a quick, agile and highly economic approach that enables us to meet our ambitious targets for rolling out key components for Inmarsat ORCHESTRA.”
Inmarsat delivers the world’s best communication services for commercial mobility, government and Internet of Things (IoT) customers anywhere across the globe. We are playing a pivotal role in the transformation of entire industries, providing seamless and exceptionally reliable connectivity that enables the deployment of ground-breaking new services. We are supporting the next wave of world-changing technologies that will underpin the connected society and will help to build a sustainable future for us all.
We are the world leader in global, mobile communications; focused entirely on meeting the needs of our mobility, government and IoT communities on every continent, in every ocean and the skies above. We develop pioneering new technologies, like our new dynamic mesh network ORCHESTRA and our world-leading L-band service ELERA, which ensure Inmarsat our customers remain at the forefront of global connectivity for decades to come.
Privately owned, Inmarsat has strong financial resources that fund its business strategy and advanced technology roadmap. Our long-established distribution network includes the world’s leading channel partners and we have strong direct retail capabilities. Together, these enable end to end global customer service assurance.
In November 2021, Inmarsat and Viasat announced their intention to combine the two companies to create a new leading global communications innovator with enhanced scale and scope to affordably, securely and reliably connect the world. The complementary assets and resources of the new organisation will enable the availability of advanced new services in mobile and fixed segments, driving greater customer choice in broadband communications and narrowband services – including IoT. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022.