TEN HUGHES HS-601 Inmarsat P satellites will ring the Earth with worldwide blanket-coverage mobile-communications services in 1999. The HS-601s are being built under a $1.3 billion contract, with a first launch due for 1998. The operational system requires two planes of five satellites, each in intermediate circular 10,400km orbits. Each satellite, which will be operated in S-band and C-band and have digital onboard processing, will be able to handle 4,500 simultaneous telephone calls.

Source: Flight International