Encyclopedia Astronautica
Skynet


Military communications satellite network.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • NATO 1 British military communications satellite. 4 launches, 1969.11.22 (Skynet 1A) to 1971.02.03 (NATO 2). Military communications. More...
  • Skynet British military communications satellite. 2 launches, 1974.01.19 (Skynet 2A) and 1974.11.23 (Skynet 2B). More...
  • ECS/OTS European communications satellite. 20 launches, 1977.09.13 (OTS 1) to 2001.02.07 (Skynet 4F). More...
  • Eurostar 3000 French communications satellite bus. Operational, first launch 2005.03.11 (Inmarsat 4-F1). Third generation of Matra Marconi Space GEO satellite platforms serving mainly commercial telecommunications applications. More...

See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta M American orbital launch vehicle. Long Tank Thor augmented with 3 Castor 2 boosters and Delta E / Burner 2 (Star 37D) upper stages. More...
  • Delta 2313 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Ariane 44LP French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 2 liquid rocket + 2 solid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Ariane 44L French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 4 liquid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Commercial Titan 3 American orbital launch vehicle. Commercial version of Titan 34D military booster. It differed in having a lengthened second stage and a 4 m diameter payload shroud to handle shuttle-class or Ariane-type dual payloads. More...
  • Delta 7925-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • 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...
  • Martin American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Martin Marietta Astronautics Group (1956), Denver, CO, USA. More...
  • Alenia Italian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Alenia Spazio, Italy. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • 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...

Skynet Chronology


1969 November 22 - . 00:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta M. LV Configuration: Thor Delta M 554/D74.
  • Skynet 1A - . Mass: 243 kg (535 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: NATO 1. Completed Operations Date: 1980-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 4250 . COSPAR: 1969-101A. Apogee: 35,894 km (22,303 mi). Perigee: 35,682 km (22,171 mi). Inclination: 13.9000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Over Indian Ocean. Military communications. Previously registered by the United States in A/AC.105/INF.220: 1969-101A, orbital data 276 x 36716 km x 28.0 deg, category C. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean at 41 deg E in 1969-1972?; ??? 1972-1977; over the Americas at 100-110 deg W in 1977-1998 As of 26 August 2001 located at 104.51 deg W drifting at 0.015 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 106.94W drifting at 0.015W degrees per day.

1970 August 19 - . 12:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta M. LV Configuration: Thor Delta M 561/D80.
  • Skynet 1B - . Mass: 243 kg (535 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: NATO 1. USAF Sat Cat: 4493 . COSPAR: 1970-062A. Apogee: 37,460 km (23,270 mi). Perigee: 278 km (172 mi). Inclination: 25.9000 deg. Period: 665.40 min. Summary: AKM failure left in unusable orbit. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). .

1974 January 19 - . 01:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 2313. LV Configuration: Delta 2313 587/D100. FAILURE: Partial Failure. Failed to reach planned orbit.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Skynet 2A - . Mass: 129 kg (284 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Skynet. Decay Date: 1974-01-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 7096 . COSPAR: 1974-002A. Apogee: 1,803 km (1,120 mi). Perigee: 104 km (64 mi). Inclination: 37.5000 deg. Period: 104.10 min. Summary: Partial Failure. Failed to reach planned orbit..

1974 November 23 - . 00:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 2313. LV Configuration: Delta 2313 591/D105.
  • Skynet 2B - . Payload: Skynet 2A. Mass: 129 kg (284 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Skynet. Completed Operations Date: 1992-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 7547 . COSPAR: 1974-094A. Apogee: 35,822 km (22,258 mi). Perigee: 35,782 km (22,233 mi). Inclination: 12.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.90 min. Military communications. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean at 50-55 deg E in 1975-1977; drifting As of 3 September 2001 located at 18.23 deg E drifting at 0.206 deg W per day. As of 2007 Feb 27 located at 54.93E drifting at 0.393E degrees per day.

1988 December 11 - . 00:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44LP. LV Configuration: Ariane 44LP V27.
  • Skynet 4B - . Mass: 1,433 kg (3,159 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: ECS/OTS. Completed Operations Date: 1988-06-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 19687 . COSPAR: 1988-109A. Apogee: 35,967 km (22,348 mi). Perigee: 35,933 km (22,327 mi). Inclination: 7.5000 deg. Period: 1,444.40 min. British military communications; 1 deg W. Military communications. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 1 deg W in 1989-1990; 53 deg E in 1990-1998 As of 4 September 2001 located at 60.05 deg E drifting at 2.136 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 126.32E drifting at 2.116W degrees per day.

1990 January 1 - . 00:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC40. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Commercial Titan 3. LV Configuration: Commercial Titan 3 CT-1.
  • Skynet 4A - . Payload: Skynet 4A [PAM-D2] / JCSat 2 [Orbus-7S]. Mass: 1,463 kg (3,225 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: ECS/OTS. USAF Sat Cat: 20401 . COSPAR: 1990-001A. Apogee: 35,790 km (22,230 mi). Perigee: 35,782 km (22,233 mi). Inclination: 5.5000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. British military communications; 6 deg E. Military communications. Expected life approx 7 years. Owner/operator: Ministry of Defence, Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 6 deg E in 1990; 29 deg E in 1991; 65 deg E in 1991; 34 deg W in 1992-1999 As of 5 September 2001 located at 34.01 deg W drifting at 0.003 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 63.46W drifting at 4.595W degrees per day.

1990 August 30 - . 22:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44LP. LV Configuration: Ariane 44LP V38.
  • Skynet 4C - . Mass: 1,463 kg (3,225 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: ECS/OTS. USAF Sat Cat: 20776 . COSPAR: 1990-079A. Apogee: 35,793 km (22,240 mi). Perigee: 35,781 km (22,233 mi). Inclination: 2.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. UK military communications; 1 deg W. United Kingdom military communications satellite. Owner/operator: UK Ministry of Defence. Expected operational life 10 years. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 1 deg W in 1990-1999 As of 3 September 2001 located at 0.97 deg W drifting at 0.002 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 1.27W drifting at 0.000W degrees per day.

1998 January 10 - . 00:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5. LV Configuration: Delta 7925-9.5 D252.
  • Skynet 4D - . Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Manufacturer: Martin. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: ECS/OTS. USAF Sat Cat: 25134 . COSPAR: 1998-002A. Apogee: 35,795 km (22,241 mi). Perigee: 35,776 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 3.9000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. Summary: Geostationary at 52.8 degrees E. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 53 deg E in 1998-1999; moving As of 4 September 2001 located at 34.00 deg W drifting at 0.004 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 34.33W drifting at 0.016W degrees per day..

1999 February 26 - . 22:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44L. LV Configuration: Ariane 44L V116.
  • Skynet 4E - . Mass: 1,490 kg (3,280 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Manufacturer: Stevenage. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: ECS/OTS. USAF Sat Cat: 25639 . COSPAR: 1999-009B. Apogee: 35,796 km (22,242 mi). Perigee: 35,777 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 7.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Skynet 4E was a SHF/UHF military communications satellite for the UK Ministry of Defense. Dry mass was 759 kg; it used a Thiokol Star 30 solid apogee motor. Stationed at 53 deg E. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 53 deg E in 1999. As of 5 September 2001 located at 52.91 deg E drifting at 0.000 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 53.02E drifting at 0.005E degrees per day.

2001 February 7 - . 23:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44L. LV Configuration: Ariane 44L-3 V139.
  • Skynet 4F - . Mass: 2,596 kg (5,723 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: MoD. Manufacturer: Alenia. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: ECS/OTS. USAF Sat Cat: 26695 . COSPAR: 2001-005B. Apogee: 35,801 km (22,245 mi). Perigee: 35,772 km (22,227 mi). Inclination: 2.9000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Skynet 4F was a communications satellite for the UK Ministry of Defense, and the last of the venerable ECS (European Communications Satellite) class of satellites built by Astrium/Stevenage. It carried a Thiokol Star 30 apogee motor and its mass was 1489 kg full, 830 kg dry - a dry mass more than twice the first OTS. The spacecraft carried a total of eight transponders in the SHF-, UHF-, and S-bands to provide secure communications after parking over either 1 deg-E or 6 deg-W. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 6 deg E in 2001 As of 5 September 2001 located at 8.77 deg E drifting at 0.284 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 6.01E drifting at 0.004E degrees per day.

2007 March 11 - . 22:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA. LV Configuration: Ariane 5ECA V175 (535).
  • Skynet 5A - . Mass: 4,635 kg (10,218 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: Paradigm. Manufacturer: EADS Astrium. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Eurostar 3000. USAF Sat Cat: 30794 . COSPAR: 2007-007B. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,772 km (22,227 mi). Inclination: 0.1000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Skynet 5A was launched by Paradigm Secure Communications as part of its turnkey contract to provide a secure communications satellite network to the British military and NATO..

2007 November 14 - . 22:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA. LV Configuration: Ariane 5ECA V179 (538).
  • Skynet 5B - . Mass: 4,635 kg (10,218 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: Paradigm. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Eurostar 3000. USAF Sat Cat: 32294 . COSPAR: 2007-056B. Apogee: 35,789 km (22,238 mi). Perigee: 35,784 km (22,235 mi). Inclination: 0.1000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Skynet 5B was designed to provide communications services in the SHF and UHF bands to the UK Ministry of Defence..

2008 June 12 - . 22:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA.
  • Skynet 5C - . Payload: Eurostr 3000S. Nation: UK. Agency: Arianespace. Program: Skynet. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Eurostar 3000. USAF Sat Cat: 33055 . COSPAR: 2008-030A. Apogee: 35,801 km (22,245 mi). Perigee: 35,772 km (22,227 mi). Inclination: 0.6000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min.

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