Inmarsat is the world leader in mobile satellite communications. Our geostationary satellite fleets span the globe, keeping the Volvo Ocean Race teams connected at all times.
What goes up, must come down. All vessels wishing to use Inmarsat satellite communications require an antenna so that a signal can be both sent and received. Every Volvo Ocean 65 is kitted out with a Cobham SAILOR 500 antenna, which is used for our FleetBroadband 500 service, and two smaller SAILOR 250 antennas for our FleetBroadband 250 service.
These antennas connect the yachts to the closest Inmarsat satellite so that our voice, data and safety services can be harnessed. When one of our satellites receives a data package sent from a team, it’s then routed by the satellite back down to Earth to a Satellite Access Station (SAS). From the SAS, the data then gets sent straight to Volvo Ocean Race HQ in Alicante. If HQ wants to send something back to the teams, it works exactly the same way, but in reverse.
All thirteen of our satellites are positioned in geostationary orbit 35,786km above the Earth. This means that they rotate at the same speed as the Earth, remaining in a constant relative position. Geostationary satellites are positioned parallel to the equator, so with three satellites in a fleet we have global coverage – perfect for a round the world sailing race.
Our award-winning fleet of Inmarsat-4 satellites – which established the world’s first global 3G network – are what the Volvo Ocean Race use for voice and data devices. These satellites link calls from IsatPhone 2 and voice and broadband data sent over FleetBroadband. The Inmarsat-4 Satellite Access Stations are located in Hawaii, The Netherlands and Italy, and are manned 24/7, as well as monitored continuously from our Network Operations Centre (NOC) in London.
In an emergency, the crews know that an alert triggered on their Inmarsat C safety terminal will be routed directly to a Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre via the Inmarsat-3 constellation. And with 99.9% availability, our satellite and ground network won’t let them down – no matter where they are at sea or how rough the conditions.