Monday, July 1, 2013
Global Xpress Constellation Hits Milestone
Inmarsat said Monday the first fully assembled Inmarsat-5 satellite has successfully completed mechanical testing at Boeing’s manufacturing facility in El Segundo, Calif. The satellite, one of three that will comprise Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress Ka-band broadband network, will move to the next phase of testing as preparations continue for launch later this year, the company said.
The recently completed tests included a simulated launch, which was designed to expose the spacecraft to the environmental conditions it will be subjected to during the actual launch.
“This is a very important and significant milestone in the construction and test cycle of the spacecraft as we progress with the test program and move forward to launch day,” said Franco Carnevale, Inmarsat’s vice president for satellite and launch vehicles. “Exposing the satellite to the realities of the launch experience allows us to know with confidence that it can withstand the real thing.”
During the testing process, a powerful shaker was deployed to simulate the vibrations induced by the rocket’s engine thrust and its "cut-off’ at stage separation. Additionally, a concrete reinforced chamber blasted the spacecraft with acoustic waves, much like those which will impact the rocket and its payload during lift-off.
The Inmarsat-5 satellite will now move to the next phase, where it will be subjected to the void of space and the large temperature variations it will experience in orbit, which are designed to ensure the satellite can operate reliably for more than 15 years. The second and third Inmarsat-5 satellites, currently in development by Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems, will endure similar testing prior to the launch.