An Ariane 5 rocket has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, for the 53rd time in a row, once again confirming the remarkable reliability of the European launcher developed and built by Astrium.
The seventh Ariane 5 mission of 2012 carried the British military communications satellite Skynet 5D designed and built by Astrium. Skynet 5D is the fourth satellite of the Skynet 5 military communications system owned and operated by Astrium Services since 2007 for the UK Ministry of Defence through a Private Finance Initiative. Skynet 5D will join the existing three Skynet 5 satellites enhancing Astrium Services’ secure satellite communications service offering to the UK and other Allied armed forces around the world.
This flight was a double launch, and also placed the MEXSAT-Bicentenario satellite in orbit.
Astrium is single prime contractor for the Ariane 5 system, responsible for delivery of a fully assembled and tested launch vehicle to Arianespace, the commercial launch service provider. The company also supplies all the Ariane 5 stages, equipment bays, flight software and numerous sub-assemblies.
Triple success for Astrium – twice over
Astrium played a triple role in this launch, responsible for production of the Ariane 5 launcher, the design and manufacture of the Skynet 5D satellite and for the operation of the Skynet 5 programme on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence.
Following Pléiades 1B and Eutelsat 70B, Skynet 5D is the third satellite designed and built by Astrium to be launched in less than three weeks.
Copyright 2011 Astrium