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Lift-Off For UK Ministry Of Defence Satellite

Ministry Of Defence (UK)

Lift-off for Ministry Of Defence (UK) Satellite

The Ministry of Defence's latest high-tech communication satellite, Skynet 5b successfully lifted-off from Kourou in French Guiana, South America on Wednesday 14 November.

The Skynet 5b communications satellite will beam signals between UK and British forces deployed around the world. With its world beating antennae technology, greater power and data rates, the satellite, will provide a significant boost to operational capability for our forces, both on land and sea.

The Skynet programme is also being used to help provide free messages between service personnel on operations and their families and friends.

Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support said:

"This is very good news for our armed forces. Once complete, the Skynet programme will bring significant improvement in our global communications systems, especially for deployed operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and at sea.

This Private Finance Initiative deal is an excellent example of how partnerships between MoD and industry should work."

The satellite is the second of three to be launched under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) programme worth over £3 Billion. The Ministry of Defence is working in partnership with service providers Paradigm Secure Communications, and EADS-Astrium who built the satellite itself.

1. The launch of the Skynet 5b communications satellite took place on Wednesday 14 November at 22.00hrs from Kourou in French Guiana, South America.

2. The next stage for Skynet 5b will be in-orbit testing taking place over the next few weeks.

3. Skynet 5a was successfully launched in April 2007 and is meeting all expectations. The next satellite, Skynet 5c, is due to be launched in 2008.

4. On completion, the Skynet programme will provide the armed forces with an unparalleled capability in a field where fast and effective long- haul communications are vital for the successful conduct of operations and welfare services.

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