An advanced satellite that will improve greatly the ability of UK military forces to communicate around the globe has been launched into space.
The Skynet 5C platform rode into orbit atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
It joins the 5A and 5B satellites lofted successfully last year and which are already handling secure traffic for UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan...1. Skynet 5 overhauls satellite communications for UK forces2. The largely autonomous satellites talk to two UK ground stations3. Skynet 5 supports high-bandwidth applications, such as UAV video4. Antennas and terminals are upgraded to make best use of Skynet5. New battlefield networks, such as Cormorant, feed into the system6. System gives commanders access to more information, faster1. Improved technologies, including a solar 'sail', lengthen the platforms' operational lives to at least 15 years2. The satellites are 'hardened' against interference. A special receive antenna can resist attempts at jamming3. Each spacecraft has four steerable antennas that can concentrate bandwidth onto particular regions4. The system gives near-global coverage, providing 2.5 times the capacity afforded by the previous system5. Each spacecraft is a 3x4x4.5m box and weighs just under 5 tonnes; the solar wings once unfurled measure 34m tip to tip
Read more at - 'Final Skynet satellite launched'