Inmarsat, a satellite service provider has announced that SWISSto12, a provider of additively manufactured antenna and radio frequency (RF) system products headquartered in Renens, Switzerland, will develop its new eighth-generation of spacecraft. SWISSto12 will use its HummingSat satellite platform – in conjunction with Additive Manufacturing technologies and specialised RF and payload products – to develop and manufacture the geostationary satellites, which are set to launch by 2026.
“We are delighted that Inmarsat has selected SWISSto12 as its partner for its landmark l-8 programme. It demonstrates that, with HummingSat, we have created a highly-advanced new class of small geostationary spacecraft that delivers world-leading connectivity capabilities at a fraction of the cost. Our proprietary 3D printing of Radio Frequency payload technology allows us to push the limits of existing capability and service new and existing business cases for geostationary satellite communications. This is an important step in our journey to better connect and protect every corner of the world,” shared Emile de Rijk, CEO, SWISSto12.
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At 1.5 m3 in volume, the I-8’s will use SWISSto12’s new class of spacecraft which has a form factor up to five times smaller than conventional geostationary satellites. The three l-8 satellites will work to provide an extra layer of resilience to complement the existing constellation and Inmarsat’s two I-6 generation satellites, which were launched in December 2021 and February 2023.
Each I-8 will also work to extend Inmarsat’s history of launching and operating radio navigation transponders for Governments and international space agencies. These transponders can enable Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) services around the world, for example, for air traffic controllers or coastguards. SBAS systems reportedly use satellite connectivity, land-based infrastructure, and software to enhance standard GPS/Galileo accuracy of 5-10 metres to 10 cm.
Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat, said, “Every single day people around the world depend on Inmarsat services. Our customers have demanding, and often safety-critical, missions that rely on our satellite technology for links that can make the difference. The I-8’s will not only underpin our existing capabilities for the future, but enable ever more advanced safety innovations like SBAS that can ultimately help save more lives. We have chosen SWISSto12 because they have the ground-breaking technology that can make it a reality.”