Inmarsat-2 F2, the second Eurostar satellite designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space, was retired from operational service and safely decommissioned this week after completing a record breaking flawless commercial mission in geostationary orbit of 23.5 years. It takes the record away from Airbus Defence and Space’s first ever Eurostar satellite, Inmarsat-2 F1 which achieved 22.5 years – both far outliving their projected design life of ten years.
Together, the four first Eurostar E1000 Inmarsat-2 satellites built by Airbus Defence and Space for Inmarsat have accumulated more than eighty years in orbit, doubling their designed life time.
“The record breaking 23.5 years longevity of Inmarsat-2 F2 demonstrates the expertise of Inmarsat operations and Airbus Defence and Space engineering and support teams,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “Our unrivalled design capability, quality processes and organisation are key to ensuring outstanding reliability of our satellites, and by constantly evolving our product line with the latest innovations we keep ahead in terms of performance.”
The four Inmarsat-2s were the first commercial satellites in the world to rely entirely on a digital system which could be reprogrammed in orbit. Operators benefited from a new concept in the ease of satellite operations, with solar sailing and autonomy providing a remarkably reduced risk of operational errors, resulting in an excellent availability record for this class of satellite.
Eurostar is Airbus Defence and Space’s flagship product for geostationary communications satellites. It has evolved over the years, with performance and capacity being considerably enhanced. Airbus Defence and Space is supplying the world’s seven leading telecom satellite operators, mostly with Eurostar based satellites.
A total of 59 Eurostar satellites have been successfully launched to date and have proven highly reliable, notching up more than 500 years of successful operations in orbit. None has ever been lost in orbit. 16 have been retired from operational service after having successfully completed their mission, exceeding their design lifetime by an average of 39%. 43 are currently in service. 12 of the latest generation Eurostar E3000 satellites are currently at various stages of production in Airbus Defence and Space facilities. Five of them use electric propulsion and nine of them carry HTS (High Throughput Satellite) payloads.
“The Inmarsat-2 was the first satellite series that Inmarsat procured, launched and operated. It was instrumental in making Inmarsat the successful company it is today and we are very proud of its outstanding success. The procurement and build of the Inmarsat 2 fleet also established the long term partnership between Inmarsat and Airbus Defence and Space, a partnership that has stood the test of time with a series of achievement, including Inmarsat 4 and Alphasat and we are very grateful for all the hard work from the Airbus Defence and Space teams that worked on all these programmes.” said Ruy Pinto, COO, Inmarsat.
About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.