Sailor - Satellite Communication
Sailor - Satellite Communication

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COBHAM satellite communication products are used on thousands of vessels around the world. Where ever they are at sea, ships fitted with COBHAM satellite products can communicate as effectively as if they were at shore. With COBHAM you can truly obtain the mobile office at sea.
COBHAM has a long history of providing the best satellite communication solutions in the world.

Satellite communication means more than just increased convenience in the daily work routines on board a vessel. More importantly, it also sets the standards in regards to efficiency and safety for ships of all sizes. Through thorough research and innovative thinking COBHAM offers high-quality satellite products for all purposes and vessels.

The satellite systems

COBHAM has products for both the Inmarsat and Iridium networks.


Inmarsat’s primary satellite constellation consists of four Inmarsat I-3 satellites in geostationary orbit. These are currently backed up by a fifth spacecraft that can be brought in to provide additional capacity. Between them, the main “global” beams of the satellites provide overlapping coverage of the whole surface of the Earth apart from the poles. So, with Inmarsat coverage, it has become possible to extend the reach of terrestrial wired and cellular networks to almost anywhere on Earth.

A geostationary satellite follows a circular orbit in the plane of the Equator at a height of 35,600km, so that it appears to hover over a chosen point on the Earth’s surface. Three such satellites are enough to cover most of the globe, and mobile users rarely have to switch from one satellite to another.

A call from an Inmarsat mobile terminal goes directly to the satellite overhead, which routes it back down to a gateway on the ground called a land earth station (LES). From there the call is passed into the public phone network.

The Inmarsat I-3 satellites are supported by four previous-generation Inmarsat-2s, also in geostationary orbit.

A key advantage of the Inmarsat I-3s over their predecessors is their ability to generate a number of spotbeams as well as single large global beams. Spotbeams concentrate extra power in areas of high demand, as well as making it possible to supply standard services to smaller, simpler terminals.


The Iridium system is a satellite-based Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) system, supporting global, wireless digital communications. Iridium provides voice, messaging and data services to mobile subscribers.

The Iridium Satellite System is the only provider of truly global satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the Earth (including oceans, airways and Polar Regions).

Iridium uses a constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites operated by Boeing, to deliver essential communications services to and from remote areas where terrestrial communications are not available.

The Iridium system comprises three principal components: the satellite network, the ground network and the Iridium subscriber products including phones and pagers. The design of the Iridium network allows voice and data to be routed virtually anywhere in the world. Voice and data calls are relayed from one satellite to another until they reach the satellite above the Iridium Subscriber Unit (handset) and the signal is relayed back to Earth.

Iridium Satellite launched commercial global satellite communications services on March 28, 2001 with enhanced products and services.  Service enhancements include improved voice quality and simplified pricing plans. Soon after launch, Iridium expanded the service portfolio to include data services.