Airbus has successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) phase, the first critical phase of the Skynet 6A project. Now the project is ready to move on to the next Critical Design Review (CDR) phase.
Since the Skynet 2020A contract that Airbus won in July 6, its teams at the Stevenage, Portsmouth and Hawthorn facilities have been working on the program. Virtual meetings with the UK Department of Defense (MOD) enabled the review board to be formed in October and the PDR to take place in November.
Richard Franklin, Managing Director of Airbus Defense and Space UK, said: “This is a great development and demonstrates our commitment to working together to achieve the programme's set goals. Building UK MOD's next generation military satellite and being able to reach this stage despite the current conditions is a reflection of the flexible and strong partnership relationship we have established with the Defense Digital team. "The Skynet 6A, all of which will be manufactured in the UK, will significantly increase the UK's milsatcoms capability, based on the history of four Skynet 5 satellites made by Airbus that still work perfectly in orbit.
Teams in the Airbus space and ground segments worked closely with MOD teams to complete the program.
Skynet 6A will expand and improve the Skynet fleet. The contract, signed with UK MOD in July 2020, includes the development, manufacture, production, cyber security, assembly, integration, testing and launch of Skynet 2025A, a military communications satellite scheduled to be put into service in 6. The contract also includes technology development programs; new secure telemetry, monitoring and command systems; It also includes launch, in-orbital tests and ground segment updates to the existing Skynet 5 system. The value of the contract is over £ 500 million.
Offered by Airbus as a full-service outsourcing contract, the Skynet 5 program has provided UK MOD with an extremely robust, reliable and secure package of military communications services supporting global operations since 2003. Airbus has been involved in all phases of Skynet since 1974, and this phase builds on the UK's strong commitment to space production in the UK. The program started using previous Skynet 4 satellites and was later powered by a completely revamped ground network before launching Skynet 2007A, 2012B, 5C and 5D satellites between 5 and 5.
The Skynet 5 program reduced or eliminated most of the technical and service risks for the MOD and also provided unrivaled secure satcoms and innovation to the British forces. Providing a reliable Skynet service for many years, Airbus teams have managed to significantly extend the lifespan of Skynet satellites and have provided the UK with significant added value in terms of financial and capability.
The Skynet 6A satellite is based on Airbus' Eurostar Neo telecommunications satellite platform. It will use the latest digital processor to offer more than the radio frequency spectrum available for satellite communication and more capacity and versatility than Skynet 5 satellites.
The satellite will have power station storage systems as well as a propulsion system that raises the electrical trajectory for maximum cost efficiency. The full satellite integration will take place at Airbus facilities in the UK, and then support the UK Space Agency initiative for UK end-to-end satellite production and support using RAL space facilities in Harwell, Oxfordshire.