New Satellite In Service for Military Communications
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued May 10, 2007)
The British military's latest high-tech communication satellite has been commissioned into service following its successful launch in South America last month.

The satellite, Skynet 5A, is the first of three to be launched under a £3 billion Private Finance Initiative (PFI) programme which has seen the Ministry of Defence working in partnership with Paradigm Secure Communications, who are the service providers, and EADS-Astrium, who built the satellite itself.

The satellite, with its world beating antenna technology and high power and data rates, provides a significant enhancement to operational capability for our forces - whether deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan or at sea. It is also being used in the field of welfare services, to provide 'free' messages between service personnel on operations and their families and friends.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support said:

"This important milestone is very good news for the armed forces. Skynet 5 will supply about 2.5 times the capacity of the old system and generate a very significant improvement for our global communications systems - allowing us to pass more data faster. It is an excellent example of a successful Private Finance Initiative deal."

The Skynet 5A communications satellite, which is now in orbit 40,000 km above the earth's surface, beams communications signals between headquarters in the UK and British forces deployed across the globe.

The next satellite, Skynet 5B, is due to be launched towards the end of this year, and Skynet 5C in 2008. (ends)



Astrium Triple Success as Skynet 5A Enters Full Service
(Source: EADS Astrium; issued May 10, 2007)
LONDON --- Astrium has achieved a triple success on the Skynet 5 military satellite communications programme with the first satellite Skynet 5A entering full service in orbit.

Astrium is prime contractor on the Skynet 5 contract through its Astrium Services subsidiary Paradigm Secure Communications. Paradigm holds the £3.6 billion contract with the UK Ministry of Defence for the provision of secure milsatcoms until 2020.

Astrium Satellites is prime contractor to Paradigm for the design and build of three Skynet 5 military communications satellites and associated ground infrastructure which will provide significant increase in capacity and performance.

Astrium is also prime contractor on the Ariane 5 launchers in charge of manufacturing, and leads the launcher manufacturing activities of the various European industrial companies. Astrium Space Transportation recently signed an agreement with Arianespace to step up production of Ariane 5 launchers.

The Skynet 5 satellites are based on Astrium's Eurostar E3000 satellite platform with a 34m solar array span and a launch mass of 4.7 tonnes. Skynet 5A was launched on 11 March 2007 from Kourou, French Guiana, and is in its orbital position in geostationary orbit at 1 degree West. Following comprehensive in-orbit testing, Skynet 5A was officially accepted by the UK MoD and entered full service.

François Auque, CEO of Astrium said: “Skynet 5 is a shining example of what can be achived by the combined expertise and capabilities across Astrium. Skynet 5A will provide significantly enhanced communication services to the UK armed forces and Paradigm’s other customers as part of this pioneering and impressive private finance initiative.”


Astrium, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems. In 2006, Astrium had a turnover of EUR 3.2 billion and 11,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are: the business units Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and 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 EUR 39.4 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.

-ends-




prev next