UK MoD successfully launches military satellite into space

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has successfully launched into space a new satellite designed to provide secure military communications for the UK’s armed forces.

The extra lines of communication will benefit personnel deployed in Afghanistan and other parts of the world, including the Falklands and Cyprus and on ships at sea.

Skynet 5D, launched from French Guiana, South America, is the fourth satellite of the Skynet 5 project to be sent into space since 2007 under a £4bn private finance initiative programme with Astrium, which built the satellite, and service provider Astrium Services.

In space, Skynet 5D will travel at speeds of around 6,200 miles per hour (9,978km/h) and is expected to cover around 765 million miles during its time in orbit.