Three Airbus Defence and Space prime contractorships: launcher, satellite and operation of Skynet 5.
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 Airbus Defence and Space.
The seventh Ariane 5 mission of 2012 carried the British military communications satellite Skynet 5D designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space. Skynet 5D is the fourth satellite of the Skynet 5 military communications system owned and operated by Airbus Defence and Space since 2007 for the UK Ministry of Defence through a Private Finance Initiative. Skynet 5D will join the existing three Skynet 5 satellites enhancing Airbus Defence and Space’ 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.
Airbus Defence and Space 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 Airbus Defence and Space – twice over
Airbus Defence and Space 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 Airbus Defence and Space to be launched in less than three weeks.