The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

Inmarsat Relevance to Arctic Interests

With the construction of its new constellation of Inmarsat-5 satellites – part of a new US$1.2 billion worldwide wireless broadband network called Inmarsat Global Xpress™ full global coverage is expected by the end of 2014. The spacecraft will break new ground by transmitting in a portion of the radio spectrum not available previously by commercial operators of global satellite systems – the extremely high frequency Ka-band. Each Inmarsat-5 will carry a payload of 89 Ka-band beams - capable of flexing capacity across the globe and enabling Inmarsat to adapt to shifting subscriber usage patterns over their projected lifetime of 15 years. The system will be tailored initially for the government, energy and maritime markets and will make critical communication technology services more readily available for environment, economic, security and social concerns in the northern regions.

C.1.2 Planned Communications Satellite Systems Thor 7 Facts in Brief Country: Norway

Operations: Telenor Satellite Broadcasting Status: Planned launch date latter half of 2013 Mission Duration: Assumed life span of 15 years Coverage: Northern Europe, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Orbit: Geostationary Key Service Areas: Telnor’s first use of Ka band Web link:

The Norwegian Telnor Thor family of satellites provides coverage over northern parts of Europe with existing satellites including Thor 4, Thor 5, and Thor 6 that are operational Ku-band satellites. Thor 7 is the recently announce (Feb 2011) planned Ka -band Thor 7. The planned intention is to offer ka-band capacity for high-bandwidth transmissions to maritime customer in Northern Europe as well as the Baltic and Mediterranean sea.

Mission Objectives

Ka band high speed communication services

System Capabilities

Thor 7 will have capacity to provide the Norwegian troll base located at the South Pole with increased satellite capacity for the distribution of key meteorological data from the research station, Trollsat. The additional capacity will also provide faster and more stable broadband connections, essential for employees working at the base, as its current data capacity is limited.

Relevance to Polar Interests

Iridium NEXT Facts in Brief

Country: Global presence, Corporate HQ in Virginia, USA Operations: Iridium Communications Inc. Status: Anticipated first launch in 2015, with subsequent launches thru to 2017 Mission Duration: 10 year design and 15 year mission life Coverage: 100 percent global coverage Orbit: Low earth orbit, 66 operational cross- linked satellites in polar orbit with 6 in-orbit spares at 86.4 degrees inclination. Altitude at 780 km Key Service Areas: higher data rates up to 1Mbps, Ka-band service, flexible bandwidth allocation and IP-based routing, 24/7 global coverage Web link: From 2015 to 2017 Iridium plans to replace it current LEO satellite constellation with a total of 72 new satellites, including 6 in-orbit spares. The mission will provide enhanced as well as entirely new services for a growing range of industries and geographical areas including the high north. Iridium NEXT will offer innovation in areas such as: enterprise global voice and data connectivity, asset tracking and other machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, new data-centric applications and more power enabling new opportunities. Iridium NEXT plans to offer higher data speeds, more flexible bandwidth allocation and IP-based routing. More specifically its improvements will include data rates up to 1Mbps, Ka-band service (2 20/30 GHz steerable feeder links to terrestrial gateways and 4 23 GHz cross links to adjacent Iridium NEXT satellites for relay communications), private network gateways and broadcast and network services. Iridium NEXT will also offer commercial, government and scientist organizations a potential opportunity to place secondary payloads on its satellite constellation to address a variety of near and long term requirements (i.e. dedicated communications, EO, signals collection, space weather etc.). The current Iridium system is the only mobile satellite service that provides complete coverage over 100% of the Earth’s surface, including the extreme Polar Regions. Iridium NEXT will continue to remain the only system to provide real-time communication services above 75 degrees north as well as providing 24/7 real-time visibility over the entire Earth’s surface and atmosphere; thus allowing it to provide critical technology for communication services as well as environmental, economic, security and social concerns across the Arctic.

Mission Objectives

System Capabilities

Relevance to Arctic Interests


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