On May 30, 2019, Inmarsat declared collaboration work with Airbus Defense and Space. Together, they would develop three satellites by serial production method. It will help them in speeding up developing time for follow-on spacecrafts. These latest satellites are reprogrammable geostationary ones which would be first of England’s Inmarsat’s 7th generation fleet. It was formerly known as GX Flex or Global Xpress Flex. These 7th generation satellites have been scheduled to launch by Inmarsat in 2023. It would widen Ka-band high-throughput satellites of Inmarsat’s fleet to at least 10.
Chief technology officer of Inmarsat, Peter Hadinger explained about Inmarsat-7 that those satellites offer a magnitude much higher than what satellites are operated by Inmarsat currently. However, he refused to mention the capacity. Furthermore, he said about the Inmarsat-7 series that each one of them would have higher capacity compared to all the collected GX spacecrafts that has been released before it. There are four Global Xpress satellites built by Boeing in the orbit of Inmarsat. Three have been provided for global coverage while the fourth one is extra. Besides, there is Thales Alenia Space’s GX-5 which would launch sometime later during this year on rocket Ariane 5. Two satellites of Inmarsat-6 series are being developed which would release in 2020 and 2021.
With this latest order of Inmarsat-7, Airbus has gone a step ahead in being at the top of taking away maximum orders of geostationary satellite production in 2019. Airbus alone is developing six satellites out of eight that were ordered to be built in 2019. Four out of six are being developed by themselves. The other two are would be built in together with Thales Alenia Space. SpainSat satellites belong to Hidesat. It is an operator whose 30% stake is owned by Spanish Government. Airbus has 15% stake in it.