Ariane 5 Rocket has Launched Britains Skynet 5B
By Jonathan Amos | news.bbc.co.uk
Britain has launched Skynet 5B - the latest spacecraft in a sophisticated new military communications system.
The satellite rode into orbit atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Kourou spaceport, in French Guiana.
Over the course of the next month, 5B will take up a position over the Indian Ocean and begin handling secure traffic for UK forces around the world.
The Ł3.6bn Skynet project is the UK's single biggest space venture and is designed to operate until 2020.
The rocket left the spaceport at 1906 local time (2206 GMT). It was a case of third time lucky after technical glitches had thwarted two previous attempts at a launch.
The Skynet payload separated from the Ariane just 27 minutes into the flight and was soon picked up by controllers through a ground station in Africa.
The spacecraft will need about 20 days of manoeuvres to take up a geostationary position at 53 degrees East.
Skynet 5B joins the 5A platform which was launched successfully in March. Working together, the two spacecraft will provide near-global coverage.
They will allow the Army, Royal Navy and RAF to pass much more data, faster between command centres. The bandwidth capacity of Skynet 5 is two-and-a-half times that of the old satellite constellation, Skynet 4.
The new spacecraft have been "hardened" for military use. They will resist attempts to disrupt them with high-powered lasers, and have some capacity to ride out the electromagnetic pulse emitted by nuclear weapons - something that would knock out normal electronic systems.
The business end of Skynet 5B. Just visible are the four steerable antennas (white dishes) that will focus bandwidth onto particular regions. To the left, the section obscured by a square silver covering is the 5B's classified advanced receive antenna.
Classified receive antenna technology on the spacecraft can also go deaf to signals that try to jam communications, whilst at the same time leaving channels open for use by British commanders.
The 5A platform is already making important contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) says.
The RAF's new Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have begun monitoring Taleban operations, and 5A is being used to feed full-motion video back to the UK for analysis.
UK forces expect more high-bandwidth applications such as Reaper to come online in the years ahead.
The upgraded Skynet system is being funded with City money through a commercial company - Paradigm Secure Communications. The firm now provides all satcom services to the Army, Royal Navy and RAF, including the "welfare services" that allow service personnel on tour to phone and email home.
"The deal we have enables our customer, the British forces, to concentrate on what they are doing - the military campaign," said Malcolm Peto, the managing director of Paradigm.
"They get better technology, faster; and we get more money because we're incentivised to invest in the technology. It's a virtuous circle.
"The technology in our space industry is supremely efficient. In terms of the special bits that Skynet 5B's got for our military, it's just the best of the best."
Spare bandwidth on the Skynet 5 system will be sold to Nato countries and other "friendly" governments, bringing revenue back to Paradigm and the MoD.
Wednesday's Ariane rocket also lofted a Brazilian telecommunications spacecraft. The Star One C1 spacecraft will provide broadband internet services to South American consumers.
1. Skynet 5 overhauls satellite communications for UK forces
2. The largely autonomous satellites talk to two UK ground stations
3. Skynet 5 supports high-bandwidth applications, such as UAV video
4. Antennas and terminals are upgraded to make best use of Skynet
5. New battlefield networks, such as Cormorant, feed into the system
6. System gives commanders access to more information, faster
The satellites are 'hardened' against interference. A special receive antenna (1) can resist attempts at jamming
Each spacecraft has four steerable antennas (2) that can concentrate bandwidth onto particular regions
The system gives near-global coverage (3), providing 2.5 times the capacity afforded by the previous system
Each spacecraft (4) is a 3x4x4.5m box and weighs just under 5 tonnes; the solar wings once unfurled measure 34m tip to tip
Improved technologies, including a solar 'sail' (5), lengthen the platforms' operational lives to at least 15 years
Article from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7095344.stm
Skynet satellite launch postponed
Robot Demonstrates Self Awareness
Pentagon Prepares To Build $130bn Robot Army
Pentagon plans cyber-insect army
US robot builds copies of itself
Emotion robots learn from people
Pentagon to Global Cities -- Drop Dead
Warbots to Replace Human Soldiers?
Latest News from our Front Page
Minister of Migration attacked by asylum seeker with fire extinguisher
Swedenâs Minister of Justice & Migration also known as Morgan âonly 1%â Johansson, has been attacked with a fire extinguisher when he visited an asylum home for future Swedes.
Regional newspaper, Kristiandstadsbladet reported that a man who had been living at the home for a couple of weeks grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam all over the minister who didnât ...
Hollywood agents: Difficult for white actors to find work now that shows required âto go ethnicâ
According to an article by Nellie Andreeva published yesterday at Deadline Hollywood, the television landscape has shifted so much this season that white actors are finding it increasingly difficult to find roles.
In addition to new hit shows with mostly minority casts â Black-ish, Empire, Fresh Off the Boat, and How to Get Away with Murder â shows that were originally ...
Congratulations Pussy Porters!
Mural paid for by the government, decorates a Swedish school.
On International Womenâs day Julia Caesar published this chronicle in Swedish on Snaphanen which Iâve translated but prior to reading it Iâd like to provide you with some background information on certain terms which are incomprehensible to non-Swedes.
First and foremost âpussy porterâ and âpenis porterâ are terms that third-wave feminists in ...
Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane deliberately â prosecutor
The Germanwings co-pilot seemed to have crashed the plane deliberately, killing 150 people on board. The co-pilot wouldnât let the captain inside the cabin, with the âintension to destroyâ the jet, the French prosecutor said at a press conference.
Follow RTâs live updates on investigation into Germanwings plane crash
The Germanwings co-pilot was identified as Andreas Lubitz.
The captain was between 30 ...
Sweden adds gender-neutral pronoun to dictionary
The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced.
âHenâ will be added to âhanâ (he) and âhonâ (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academyâs SAOL.
The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender â either because ...
|More News » |