Europe launches major British military satellite

December 20, 2012
An Ariane 5 rocket blasts off from the Kourou space base in French Guiana on December 19, 2012. Skynet 5D—the fourth in Britain's new generation of Skynet military satellites—was taken aloft by Ariane 5 at 2149 GMT on Wednesday.

A European rocket has launched a major satellite designed to expand telecommunications for the British military from the Kourou space base in French Guiana, flight operators said.

Skynet 5D—the fourth in Britain's new generation of Skynet —was taken aloft by a heavy at 2149 GMT on Wednesday, said in an Internet feed of the launch.

The 4.8-tonne satellite was partnered by a second payload, Mexsat Bicentenario, a 2.9-tonne telecoms satellite for the Mexican government.

The Skynet system is a public-private arrangement between Britain's Ministry of Defence and the space firm Astrium, which builds the satellites.

Under it, British forces pay an annual charge for which they are guaranteed bandwidth for their communications, and any surplus is sold to fellow NATO countries or other allies.

Skynet 5D is designed to provide coverage over the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Explore further: Ariane rocket launches two telecoms satellites

Related Stories

Ariane rocket with two telecom satellites lifts off

August 3, 2012

An Ariane 5 rocket carrying two telecommunication satellites launched from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana on Thursday, an Internet broadcast by European operator Arianespace showed.

Ariane rocket launches two Asian satellites

May 16, 2012

An Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched two Asian telecoms satellites into orbit from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana, European operator Arianespace announced.

Recommended for you

New dwarf satellite galaxy of Messier 83 found

December 5, 2016

(Phys.org)—Astronomers have found a new dwarf satellite of Messier 83 (M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy) located some 85,000 light years from its host. This satellite galaxy was designated dw1335-29 and could ...

Colliding galaxy clusters

December 5, 2016

Galaxy clusters contain a few to thousands of galaxies and are the largest bound structures in the universe. Most galaxies are members of a cluster. Our Milky Way, for example, is a member of the "Local Group," a set of about ...

ALMA measures size of seeds of planets

December 5, 2016

Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), have for the first time, achieved a precise size measurement of small dust particles around a young star through radio-wave polarization. ALMA's high ...

Bethlehem star may not be a star after all

December 2, 2016

It is the nature of astronomers and astrophysicists to look up at the stars with wonder, searching for answers to the still-unsolved mysteries of the universe. The Star of Bethlehem, and its origin, has been one of those ...

Swiss firm acquires Mars One private project

December 2, 2016

A British-Dutch project aiming to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2018 announced Friday that the shareholders of a Swiss financial services company have agreed a takeover bid.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.