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Arianespace Receives Skynet Satellite For Launch

By | January 15, 2007

      Arianspace received the Skynet 5A military communications satellite for the first Ariane 5 launch mission this year, the company announced.

      The satellite arrived in French Guiana this week, with the touchdown of the United Kingdom’s Skynet 5A satellite at Rochambeau International Airport near Cayenne.

      A Ukrainian-built An-124 cargo jetliner flew the military communications platform from Europe, where Skynet 5A was built by EADS Astrium, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. After landing at Rochambeau airport, the spacecraft was unloaded for its transfer by road to the spaceport.

      Skynet 5A is the first in a series of next-generation military relay satellites that will provide secure communications services for the British armed forces, NATO and a number of other countries. It will be operated for the U.K. Ministry of Defence by Paradigm Secure Communications, a commercial organization.

      EADS Astrium has contracted to orbit the Skynet 5A, 5B and 5C spacecraft on Ariane 5, reinforcing Arianespace’s role as the launch services provider of choice for a growing number of manufacturers and operators of military satellites.

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