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Inmarsat's Global Xpress set back as satellite destroyed in launch

Inmarsat's Global Xpress set back as satellite destroyed in launch
Inmarsat suffered another launch delay over the weekend, leading to delays in the $1.6bn introduction of its Global Xpress (GX) broadband service.

A Proton Breeze M rocket suffered a failure eight minutes after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, resulting in the loss of a satellite and rocket. Inmarsat's F3 satellite, next in the launch queue, has now been delayed.

The Proton rockets have proven something of a liability for the satcoms firm, with this incident becoming the third in a string of failures involving the vehicles. Six Protons and their payloads have now been lost in the past five years.

“Although in the past, Proton has returned to flight within a few months of a launch failure, it will not be possible to determine the length of the delay in the launch of I-5 F3 until the cause of the Centenario launch failure is established,” said ceo Rupert Pearce. “Customers are understandably anxious to see the delivery of GX services on a global basis, and as soon as we have sufficient information to ascertain the new launch date for I-5 F3, we will make the information public, as well as comment further on the impact of the delayed launch of I-5 F3.

Inmarsat has now been forced to write-down its forecasts of an 8-12% increase in core mobile satellite revenue between 2014 and 2016. Pearce said the company was “buoyed by early revenues from I-5 F1, which is in service over EMEA and Asia, and by the successful delivery of I-5 F2 into orbit over the Americas.”