Feeds

Skynet 5B still on ground after Arianespace snags

'System has been delivered on time'

High performance access to file storage

The UK armed forces' Skynet 5B military communications satellite, which was due to be launched on Friday night, has suffered a second delay over the weekend and remains on the ground in French Guiana. A revised launch date and time are not yet available.

Skynet 5B was to join the 5A spacecraft launched earlier this year, completing the British forces' satellite coverage of nearly two-thirds of the world. There will also be an on-orbit spare, Skynet 5C, but the system will be fully operational once the second satellite is up.

The original launch was delayed by an electronics problem in the Ariane 5 rocket aboard which the satellite is to travel into space (along with a Brazilian telecoms bird). Now a second hitch has arisen, related to pipework in the launch pad.

The Skynet programme is notable for being privately funded. Paradigm, its operator, expects to recoup its initial outlay by charging the Ministry of Defence for bandwidth. It believes this is a feasible business strategy despite the strain on MoD budgets because of additional Treasury "conflict resolution" funds which are made available when the UK is engaged in wars.

Paradigm believes, probably correctly, that Britain will be at war in Afghanistan (and to some degree elsewhere) for years, and thus the MoD will have both the need for satellite bandwidth and extra money to pay for it. In any case, Skynet bandwidth can also be sold to other customers.

"Skynet's been delivered on time and on budget," Paradigm chief Malcolm Peto told the Beeb.

Apart from this little ongoing delay from Arianespace. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.