UK Skynet military satellite system extended

Skynet 5, the UK’s single biggest space project, is to be extended.

BBC News

The £3.6bn system, which provides secure satellite telecommunications to British armed forces, will be boosted by the addition of a fourth spacecraft.

The first three satellites were only launched in 2007-2008, but military planners envisage even more bandwidth will be needed in the future.

Skynet 5D will be built in Portsmouth for a launch in 2013. Its construction will be funded by City money.

The work will create 100 hi-tech jobs and secure another 800.

The Ministry of Defence does not actually own the Skynet system; it merely buys the services run over the spacecraft from a company called Paradigm Secure Communications.

This arrangement – one of the most expensive Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) ever signed by the MoD – pays for itself in part by the sale of spare bandwidth to “friendly” forces.

BBC News

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