Inmarsat: 3rd Generation Satellites End of Life

A Message From Inmarsat:-

As you will be aware, the satellites that form the Inmarsat-3 (I-3), L-band constellation are approaching the end of their operational life.

We are writing to you now to outline the four stage approach we will be implementing in 2018 to migrate key services from I-3 to I-4 satellites.   Our primary objective is to ensure that end-users experience as seamless a transition as possible.

The services we will be migrating are specific to the maritime and aviation sectors and include: Inmarsat-C, Fleet 77, Swift64 and Classic Aero.

These legacy services have been operated successfully over I-4 satellites previously and minimal service impact is anticipated.  Additionally, we have been working closely with terminal manufacturers to ensure that their devices can operate on the I-4 satellites with minimum intervention.

The migration will start at the end of Q1 2018 and take approximately 9 months to complete.  Our approach is to migrate these services satellite-by-satellite, commencing with the Atlantic Ocean Region West.

I-3 to I-4 migration Timing
Atlantic Ocean Region West (AORW) I-3 to I-4 Americas (AMER) End Q1 2018
Pacific Ocean Region (POR) I-3 to I-4 Asia/Pacific (APAC) End Q2 2018
Atlantic Ocean Region East (AORE) moved from 15.5W to 54W (I-3 F5 satellite) End Q3 2018
Indian Ocean Region (IOR) I-3 to I-4 Alphasat EMEA End Q4 2018

Due to the move from I-3 to I-4 satellites, the coverage areas will change and users will need to point towards a different satellite, although this will generally be managed by the terminal without user intervention. However, in some instances, users will need to use a different ocean region.

  • Inmarsat-C users should ensure that their local applications (e.g. data reporting) will operate correctly if they are using a different ocean region.
  • Classic Aero and Swift64 users should be advised to contact their equipment manufacturers to confirm whether a configuration update will be available to support the migration.

Each migration step will cause a short outage of around 30 minutes as services are migrated onto the I-4 satellites. Distress and Safety services will be restored first, as the highest priority. The migrations will be performed during normal working hours, when technical specialists are available to provide support.

Final dates for each satellite will be confirmed around 12 weeks prior to each migration.

Inmarsat has been working closely with LESOs since 2015, both in groups and individually. Inmarsat and its LESO partners will undertake a joint campaign to reach out to end-users to ensure they’re aware of the migration and the steps they (the end-users) will need to take.

We are planning to create infographics to explain the migration process; these graphics will show service coverage of each satellite before and after the migration.

We will be communicating to you throughout the migration planning and execution process, providing additional detail as and when this becomes available.