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Skynet 5

Skynet 5
Credit: EADS
British military communications satellite. One launch, 2008.06.12. The Skynet 5 program contract was signed by the EADS subsidiary Paradigm Secure Communications Ltd and the UK MOD in October 2003.

The innovative Skynet 5 contract was being delivered in an entirely new way, with Paradigm already having taken ownership and operation of the MoD's existing Skynet 4 satellites, and design and production already under way through its subcontractor EADS Astrium for the next generation Skynet 5 satellites (A and B) which were due to be operational in 2007 and 2008. The Skynet 5 contracting approach made Paradigm responsible for providing the MOD with turnkey satellite communications services, to be purchased by the MOD as and when needed. The total contract value through 2018 was expected to run to 2.5 billion pounds.

EADS Astrium was responsible for the design, build and launch of two military hardened Skynet 5 military communications satellites, delivered in orbit. These satellites would feature: UHF and SHF payloads ; Secure satellite control link ; Anti-jam capability (Nulling Antenna) ; Multiple, steerable spot beams ; Switchable connectivity ; Support to legacy terminals.

Skynet 5 communications service coverage would be enhanced through commercial augmentation: by existing commercial assets such as Global mobile - Iridium; Satellite communications - Intelsat, Inmarsat; Fiber - Cable & Wireless. Skynet 5 coverage availability could be enhanced through additional Paradigm launches driven by market demand; mutual back-up Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with other countries; and capacity leased from other military satellite communications systems.

First Launch: 2008.06.12.
Number: 1 .

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Ariane 5 The Ariane 5 was a completely new design, unrelated to the earlier Ariane 1 to 4. It consisted of a single-engine Lox/LH2 core stage flanked by two solid rocket boosters. Preparatory work began in 1984. Full scale development began in 1988 and cost $ 8 billion. The design was sized for the Hermes manned spaceplane, later cancelled. This resulted in the booster being a bit too large for the main commercial payload, geosynchronous communications satellites. As a result, development of an uprated version capable of launching two such satellites at a time was funded in 2000. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Ariane 5ECA French orbital launch vehicle, first version of the evolved Ariane 5. The solid booster motors propellant load was increased by 2.43 tonnes and the case was welded, for a weight saving in dry mass of 1.9 tonnes. The core was powered by an improved Vulcain 2 engine. The oxygen-rich cycle of the engine allowed the oxygen bulkhead to be moved within the stage, resulting in a 15.2 tonne increase in propellant in the core. A new Lox/LH2 upper stage, using the HM7B engine and oxygen tank from the Ariane 4 series, replaced the storable propellant EPS stage of earlier models. The result was an increase in payload to geoscynchronous transfer orbit from 6 tonnes to 10.5 tonnes. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • MoD British agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of Defence, UK. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Kourou After the agreement with newly independent Algeria for France to evacuate their launch sites in that country, a location near Biscarosse was selected for French missile testing. However since only launches westwards across the Bay of Biscay could be made from this site, it was unsuitable for France's Diamant orbital launch vehicle. After reviewing 14 potential sites, a location in the South American French colony of Guiana was selected. This would allow over-water launches to a tremendous range of possible orbital inclinations -- from -100.5 deg to 1.5 deg. Being near the equator, it would provide the maximum assist from the earth's rotation for launches into equatorial orbits. The decision was formalized in April 1964 and in July 1966 ELDO chose the site for future launches of the Europa II launch vehicle. More...

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