Skynet 5D
Skynet 5D in orbit, CGI.jpg
A CGI impression of Skynet 5D in orbit
Mission typeMilitary communications
OperatorAstrium Services
On behalf of British Ministry of Defence
COSPAR ID2012-075A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.39034Edit this on Wikidata
Mission duration15 years
Spacecraft properties
BusEurostar 3000S
ManufacturerAstrium
Launch mass4,800 kilograms (10,600 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date19 December 2012, 21:49 (2012-12-19UTC21:49Z) UTC
RocketAriane 5ECA VA211
Launch siteKourou ELA-3
ContractorArianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeGeostationary
Longitude53° East
 

Skynet 5D is a military communications satellite operated by Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of the British Ministry of Defence. It was the last of four Skynet 5 satellites to be launched.

Spacecraft

The Skynet 5D spacecraft was constructed by Astrium, based on the Eurostar 3000S satellite bus. It had a mass at launch of approximately 4,800 kilograms (10,600 lb), and is designed to operate for at least 15 years.[1] Its 34-metre (112 ft) solar arrays will generate a minimum of 6 kilowatts[2] to power its UHF and X-band communications systems. The satellite's payload includes jamming countermeasures.[3]

The Ministry of Defence described the satellite as having a "key role in gathering intelligence on operations", as well as communications.[4]

Launch

Skynet 5D was launched by an Ariane 5ECA carrier rocket flying from ELA-3 at Kourou. The launch occurred at 21:49 UTC on 19 December 2012.[5] Skynet 5D was one of two satellites aboard the rocket, the other being Mexsat Bicentenario, which was located below it; Skynet 5D was mounted atop a Sylda 5 adaptor.[2]

Orbit

The launch placed Skynet 5D into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, from which was planned to raise itself into geostationary orbit.[5] The spacecraft was expected to be placed at a longitude of 25 degrees East.[2]

References

  1. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Skynet 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "A Satellite Launch for the British MoD and Mexico" (PDF). Arianespace. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 November 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Skynet-5D: Military satellite's classified tech". BBC News. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Sky's the Limit for New Military Satellite - Paradigm Agrees Deal with UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for Fourth Skynet 5 Satellite". Ministry of Defence & EADS Astrium (Press release). defense-aerospace.com. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b Bergin, Chris (19 December 2012). "Ariane 5 ECA launches Skynet 5D and Mexsat 3/Bicentenario". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 21 December 2012.