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Successful Second Launch of Skynet 5 Satellite

Successful Second Launch of Skynet 5 Satellite

Paradigm prepares for second Skynet 5 satellite to enter full service. Source : Astrium.

Kourou, 15 November 2007 -- (Astrium) -- Astrium has achieved a second triple challenge with the successful launch of the second Skynet 5 satellite - Skynet 5B – on 14 November from Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA–CNES–Arianespace - 2007 © Photo.

  ESA–CNES–Arianespace - 2007 © Photo

François Auque, CEO of Astrium, said: “Progressing from the success of Skynet 5A, this marks another major milestone for Astrium with our latest triple challenge – building the Skynet 5 satellites, placing them in orbit on-board Ariane 5, and delivering a new era in secure military communications to the UK Ministry of Defence, in the form of a unique service provision approach.”

Malcolm Peto, Managing Director of Paradigm said: "This is the culmination of many years of co-operation between industry and the Ministry of Defence and will further enhance Paradigm's ability to deliver mission critical communications services to our deployed military customers, faster and better than ever. The best Armed Forces in the world deserve the best communications service. And that is what we provide with Skynet 5."

Paradigm, part of Astrium Services, as owner and operator of the Skynet 5 system, is responsible for delivering secure communications services as part of a service provision contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) until 2020. Following the successful launch of Skynet 5A in March 2007 Paradigm is already providing secure services to the UK MoD.

Astrium Space Transportation is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 system, responsible for the delivery of fully integrated and tested launch vehicles to Arianespace.

Astrium Satellites is responsible for the Skynet 5 satellites and the complete communications system. Following launch, Skynet 5B, designed and built by Astrium Satellites, will now undergo a period of intensive in-orbit testing of both satellite and payload before moving to its operational position at 53°E. Initial transfer of services will commence in the coming weeks.

Skynet 5B is the second of three satellites that will form a new constellation to meet the UK MoD’s milsatcoms requirements - one of the three will be an in-orbit spare, to guard against satellite loss.

Following the successful launch at 22.06 GMT last night, Skynet 5B is currently in its low Earth orbit phase, which began with partial deployment of the solar panels. Skynet 5B will then reach its geostationary orbit, followed by the deployment of the UHF receivers and transmitters and a full testing programme will commence before the first operations begin. This process will take around a month to complete.

The achievements of the Skynet 5 programme are underpinned by effective partnering between the MoD and industry. Paradigm, Astrium Satellites, Serco, LogicaCMG, EADS DS and the MoD have worked together to make the project a success for all the stakeholders.

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2006, Astrium had a turnover of €3.2 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are: Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2006, EADS generated revenues of €39.4 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.

Press Contacts:

  • Rémi Roland - (Astrium FR) - Tel.: +33 (0)1 77 75 80 37

  • Jeremy Close - (Astrium UK) - Tel.: +44 (0)1438 77 3872

  • Mathias Pikelj - (Astrium GER) - Tel.: +49 (0) 7545 8 91 23

  • Emma Stanway - Paradigm - Tel.: +44 (0)1249 85 3754


Skynet 5 : Next-generation Satellites for Military Communications Services

The UK MoD and Paradigm Secure Communications Limited, a wholly owned EADS Astrium subsidiary, signed the €3.6 billion Skynet 5 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract in October 2003. Paradigm Secure Communications then awarded Astrium the contract for supply of the Skynet 5 next-generation military satellite communications system.

Astrium is prime contractor to Paradigm for the design and build of the complete Skynet 5 system. This comprises three Skynet 5 spacecraft as well as a major upgrade of the fixed terrestrial infrastructure, networks and management systems in the UK and provision of over 160 satellite communications terminals. Skynet 5A was launched in March 2007, 5B in November 2007, with 5C scheduled for 2008.

The Skynet 5 satellites are based on the new high-power E3000 variant of Astrium’s well-proven Eurostar series which has accumulated over 200 years operational life. Each Skynet 5 spacecraft will have a launch mass of around 5 tonnes, compared to 1.6 tonnes for Skynet 4F, and a payload power of 5kW, up to four times the power of Skynet 4.

The ground systems being delivered by Astrium as part of the Skynet 5 programme include 59 Reacher tactical vehicle-mounted units in various configurations, capable of standing up to the rigours of all-terrain transport and operation in harsh environments.

Astrium is also responsible for a complete upgrade of the UK Royal Navy’s SCOT shipborne satellite communications systems, which involves the replacement of existing terminals on 28 ships. Installation of these world-class systems is due for completion by 2008 to provide effective and reliable communications services through to 2020. (Source : EADS Astrium)

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).