EADS Astrium Ltd. has chosen Arianespace to launch the UK Ministry of Defence’s third Skynet 5 military communications satellite, Skynet 5C.

Evry, January 4, 2006 – Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianespace, today announced the signature of a launch contract with EADS Astrium Ltd for the Skynet 5C satellite. EADS Astrium has already selected Arianespace for the launches of Skynet 5A and Skynet 5B. As with Skynet 5A and 5B, Skynet 5C will be boosted into geostationary transfer orbit by Ariane 5 launcher from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch is scheduled for 2008.

Skynet 5C will be launched by Arianespace on behalf of EADS Astrium, which in turn will deliver the satellite in orbit to Paradigm Secure Communications Ltd., the world’s first commercial provider of military satellite communications. Paradigm is contracted to provide secure communications services for the UK 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 UK Ministry of Defence.

The Ariane 5 launcher is key to the development of a common European defence and security policy, for which the space segment is essential. Skynet 5C is the 26th military payload entrusted to the European launch vehicle.