Inmarsat first customer for new MHI launch vehicle

06 December 2018: Inmarsat has entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) to be the first commercial customer to place an order for the new H3 launch vehicle.

Two men shaking hands in front of company logos

Masahiro Atsumi, Vice President & Senior General Manager for Space Systems at MHI and Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, at the signing ceremony.

The maiden flight of H3 is scheduled for 2020 with Inmarsat planning to deploy the new launch vehicle after 2022.

This is the second agreement entered by Inmarsat and MHI, following the launch services contract awarded to MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle in 2017. These agreements underline the growing partnership between the two companies in the area of launch services.

Exceptional ecosystem

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Inmarsat is the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, a position we have achieved by building an exceptional ecosystem of partners.  As our company grows – expanding into new markets and opening up new opportunities for our customers to develop their businesses – we continually seek new technology partners that display an outstanding commitment to innovation and excellence.

“It was for these reasons that in 2017 we selected MHI as a launch partner and why today we are delighted to be announcing that Inmarsat is the first commercial customer to select MHI’s new H3 launch vehicle. We believe that H3 represents a world-class innovation and one that will deliver an effective and efficient service to place future Inmarsat satellites into orbit.”

Masahiro Atsumi, Vice President & Senior General Manager for Space Systems at MHI, said:  “Today, development of the H3 launch vehicle is proceeding steadily forward under the leadership of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with MHI serving as primary contractor working closely with key component manufacturers.

“We greatly appreciate the high evaluation made by Inmarsat during this development phase and, working closely with JAXA and government agencies, we will do everything possible to ensure that development results in a new flagship launch vehicle fully meeting the customer’s high expectations.”

Success story

Commenting on the announcement, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, UK Secretary of State for Business, said that long-term strategic partnerships such as the one between Inmarsat in the UK and MHI in Japan demonstrated that science and innovation have no borders.

“The space sector is a UK success story and an industry that is growing globally. A year since the launch of our modern industrial strategy, we continue to build on our commitment to space, including through the announcement of the UK’s first spaceports and record investment in our world leading science base,” he said.

MHI Launch Services enjoys an extremely high success rate of 97.9% and has provided 41 successful consecutive launches since 2005, delivered on time and to the customer’s satisfaction by both H-IIA and H-IIB launch vehicles.

The agreement with Inmarsat reflects MHI’s long-term commitment to supporting a wide range of customers in the space industry. MHI will continue to support the development of the space industry, and will seek further new opportunities in this field both in Japan and globally.

For more information contact news@inmarsat.com.

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