Astrium has completed the Skynet 5 military satellite communications fleet with the successful launch of Skynet 5C - the third Skynet 5 satellite - from Kourou, French Guiana on 12 June.
Fran�ois Auque, CEO of Astrium, said: "Completing the Skynet 5 fleet with the successful launch of Skynet 5C is a remarkable milestone and I congratulate the combined teams across Astrium. We are already providing significantly enhanced services to the UK Ministry of Defence with Skynet satellites 5A and 5B, through our subsidiary Paradigm, and Skynet 5C is the pinnacle achievement for this programme.
"It's a triple success for Astrium. As prime contractor for the launcher Ariane 5, for the satellites, and also for the services provided, we have proved that Astrium is well and truly capable of providing a world-class secure military communications system from start to finish."
Malcolm Peto, Managing Director of Paradigm said: "The Skynet 5 programme has been carefully planned for more than 10 years with meticulous detail given to delivering the best possible milsatcom services to the UK Ministry of Defence. This latest success will ensure we continue to provide our customers with nothing but the best - and I would like to thank all the individuals who contributed to this fantastic achievement."
Paradigm, part of Astrium Services, as owner and operator of the Skynet 5 system, is responsible for delivering secure communications services as part of a service provision contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) until 2020. Following the successful launches of Skynet 5A in March 2007 and Skynet 5B in November 2007, Paradigm is already providing enhanced secure services to the UK MoD.
Astrium Space Transportation is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 system, responsible for the delivery of fully integrated and tested launch vehicles to Arianespace.
Astrium Satellites is responsible for the Skynet 5 satellites and the complete communications system. Following launch, Skynet 5C, designed and built by Astrium Satellites, will now undergo a period of intensive in-orbit testing of both satellite and payload before moving to its operational position at 17.8�W.
Skynet 5C is the third satellite that completes the new constellation to meet the UK MoD's milsatcoms requirements.
Following the successful launch at 22.05 GMT, Skynet 5C is currently in its low Earth orbit phase, which began with partial deployment of the solar panels. Skynet 5C will then reach its geostationary orbit, followed by the deployment of the UHF receivers and transmitters and a full testing programme will commence before the first operations begin.
The achievements of the Skynet 5 programme are underpinned by effective partnering between the MoD and industry. Paradigm, Astrium Satellites, Serco, Logica, EADS DS and the MoD have worked together to make the project a success for all the stakeholders.
Source: Skynet 5C - triple success for Astrium
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