Falcon 9 all set to launch Inmarsat satellite for in-flight Wi-Fi & Mobile Broadband

A day before its planned liftoff with an Inmarsat communications satellite, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket arrived at the historical launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday.

The Falcon 9 booster is scheduled to lift off with Inmarsat-5 F4 communications satellite this Monday, May 15. SpaceX is targeting a 50-minute launch window opening at 7:20 p.m. EDT or 23:20 GMT.

The powerful Inmarsat communications satellite has been designed to spread broadband beams linking airline passengers, maritime crews as well as American and international armed units with Internet and data services.

Michele Franci, chief technology officer for Inmarsat, said, “It’s for passenger connectivity, so it’s wifi services for passengers for web browsing, email, video downloads and uploads. On ships, our biggest market today is in merchant shipping, and there it will provide a combination of operational services and crew welfare.”

The Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite is going to join London-based Inmarsat’s $1.6-billion Global Xpress broadband network. The company was originally set up to provide emergency communications to ships at sea.

SpaceX has several heavier satellites on its manifest for the coming months, but the13, 417-pound Inmarsat 5 F4 satellite is the biggest test of the lifting capability of the Falcon 9 to date.