Feeds

Ariane 5 is go: Skynet 5B military chat-sat on the way

Launch 'reflects Arianespace strategic role'

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The British military communications satellite Skynet 5B launched successfully from Kourou in French Guiana at 2206 GMT last night. The spacecraft will complete the UK armed forces' planned new generation of orbital communications coverage.

Ariane V launching Skynet

Arianespace's strategic role.

Skynet 5B was supposed to launch on Friday, but technical hitches affecting the Ariane V ECA heavy-lift rocket delayed the lift-off until Wednesday evening. Problems overcome, the booster successfully sent both the Skynet spacecraft and a Brazilian telecomms platform on their journey to geostationary orbit.

Arianespace said that the launch had set a new record for Ariane V, with 8,700kg of payload delivered.

"The launch of Skynet 5B clearly reflects Arianespace's strategic role in guaranteeing independent access to space for European governments," according to the launch company.

"Skynet 5A is the European launcher's 28th military payload. Arianespace has already orbited Skynet 4B, 4C, 4E, 4F and 5A for the British MoD and NATO. Arianespace's backlog of orders includes one more MoD satellite, Skynet 5C."

Skynet 5C will not increase the coverage area of the Skynet 5 constellation, but rather will act as an on-orbit backup.

Skynet 5 is unusual among military satcomms projects in that it is privately owned. Its operators, Paradigm, expect to recoup the billions they have invested from UK Treasury "conflict resolution" funds. (The regular defence budget would not have stretched to cover the price of Skynet 5, but supplemental money provided for fighting wars is likely to be provided for the foreseeable future.)

The 5B satellite will take about 20 days to settle into its new geostationary orbit at 53 degrees East of Greenwich. Its operational life, like the other Skynet 5 satellites, is expected to exceed 15 years. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.