Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Final Skynet satellite launched

BBCNews reports on the Skynet military (and later civil?) communications satellite:

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...

Skynet 5 system (BBC)
1. Skynet 5 overhauls satellite communications for UK forces
2. The largely autonomous satellites talk to two UK ground stations
3. Skynet 5 supports high-bandwidth applications, such as UAV video
4. Antennas and terminals are upgraded to make best use of Skynet
5. New battlefield networks, such as Cormorant, feed into the system
6. System gives commanders access to more information, faster
Skynet 5 system (BBC)
1. Improved technologies, including a solar 'sail', lengthen the platforms' operational lives to at least 15 years
2. The satellites are 'hardened' against interference. A special receive antenna can resist attempts at jamming
3. Each spacecraft has four steerable antennas that can concentrate bandwidth onto particular regions
4. The system gives near-global coverage, providing 2.5 times the capacity afforded by the previous system
5. 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'

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