Arianespace to launch Skynet 5D military communications satellite
EADS Astrium selects Arianespace to launch the fourth satellite in the Skynet 5 constellation.
Jean-Yves Le Gall, Arianespace Chairman and CEO, announced today the launch contract signing of the Skynet 5D satellite with Astrium. Arianespace had already been chosen by Astrium to launch the Skynet 5A, 5B and 5C satellites.
Like the three previous spacecraft in the Skynet 5 family, Skynet 5D will be placed in geostationary transfer orbit by an Ariane 5 launcher from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. Launch is scheduled for the first half of 2013.
Skynet 5D, secure broadband communications for armed forces
Skynet 5D will be orbited by Arianespace for Astrium, which is contracted to deliver the satellite in orbit to the company Paradigm Secure Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astrium.
Astrium’s Secure SatCom Systems is the prime system integrator and system design authority for Skynet 5 and Paradigm offers secure communications services to the British armed forces, NATO, other European countries, the USA and Australia.
Built by Astrium using a Eurostar E-3000 platform, carrying powerful X-band transponders, Skynet 5D will weigh 4,800 kg. at launch. Previously, Arianespace orbited the Skynet 4B, 4C, 4E and 4F satellites for the British Ministry of Defence.
Ariane 5 European defense missions
Skynet 5D is the 35th military payload to have chosen an Ariane launch. This latest contract clearly illustrates the strategic facet of Ariane 5, which guarantees independent access to space for all European governments. The Ariane 5 launcher is one of the keys to the development of a common European security policy, since it plays a pivotal role in the indispensable space segment.
Since the beginning of the year, Arianespace has signed 7 launch contracts for geostationary satellites and 5 dedicated Soyuz launches.
Arianespace is the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 24 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace offers an unrivalled family of launchers, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of 15 May 2010, Arianespace had launched a total of 277 payloads, including more than half of all the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a backlog of 24 Ariane 5 and 17 Soyuz launches, equal to more than three years of business.