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

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 to fly safely past Earth February 4

January 22, 2018

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on Feb. 4, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. PST (4:30 p.m. EST / 21:30 UTC). At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth ...

A new bound on axions

January 22, 2018

An axion is a hypothetical elementary particle whose existence was postulated in order to explain why certain subatomic reactions appear to violate basic symmetry constraints, in particular symmetry in time. The 1980 Nobel ...

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.