EADS Astrium Ltd. has chosen Arianespace to launch the British Ministry of Defense’s Skynet 5A and Skynet 5B military communications satellites.


Evry, January 4, 2005 – Colin Paynter, Managing Director of EADS Astrium Ltd., and Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianespace, today announced the signature of two launch contracts, for the Skynet 5A and 5B satellites.

These two satellites will be boosted into geostationary transfer orbit by Ariane 5 launchers from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Launches are scheduled for the second half of 2006 and the second half of 2007.

Skynet 5A and 5B, secure high-speed communications

Skynet 5A and 5B will be launched by Arianespace on behalf of EADS Astrium, which in turn will deliver the satellites in orbit to the commercial organisation Paradigm Secure Communications. Paradigm is contracted to provide secure communications services for the British armed forces, NATO and a number of other countries.

The Skynet 5 satellites, built by EADS Astrium, will weigh approximately 4,700 kilograms at launch.

Europe’s Ariane launcher has already orbited the Skynet 4B, 4C, 4E and 4F satellites for the British Ministry of Defense.

Ariane 5, supporting defense and security

The Ariane 5 launcher is key to the development of a common European defense and security policy, for which the space segment is essential. Skynet 5A and 5B are the 24th and 25th military payloads entrusted to the European launch vehicle.