While Boeing probably thought it was a shoe-in to build the fifth and final spacecraft in the Inmarsat 5 Global Xpress Ka-band fleet, it was to be disappointed. The UK-based mobile satellite operator has decided instead to order its final satellite from the European manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space. The satellite, likely to be officially called Inmarsat 5F-5, has been ordered for delivery in 2019 and will cost US$130 million. The company describes the spacecraft as a Very High Throughput Satellite.
Inmarsat is to use the spacecraft as a fully operational spacecraft in the fleet providing connectivity to aircraft and shipping. The compnay has just announced a contract to supply such services to the Qatar Airways fleet of 130 commercial aircraft.