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Astrium successfully achieves first step in triple challenge

Kourou, 12 March 2007

Astrium has succeeded in the first step of a triple challenge with the first Ariane 5 mission of 2007, on 11 March, which has successfully launched the British military communications satellite Skynet 5A, together with the Indian INSAT-4B telecommunications satellite.

Astrium Space Transportation is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 system, responsible for the delivery of fully integrated and tested launch vehicles to Arianespace.

Astrium Satellites is responsible for the Skynet 5 satellites and the complete communications system. Skynet 5A, designed and built by Astrium Satellites, will now undergo a period of intensive in-orbit testing of both satellite and payload before moving to its operational position at 1°W. Initial transfer of services will commence in the coming weeks. This constitutes the second step of the challenge.

Astrium Services, through its subsidiary Paradigm Secure Communications, is responsible for the Skynet 5 service provision contract, which extends to 2020. Astrium Satellites is prime contractor for all three next-generation Skynet 5 satellites and the associated ground infrastructure.

François Auque, CEO of Astrium, declared, “This marks a major step in our triple challenge – building the Skynet 5 satellites, placing them in orbit on-board Ariane 5, and delivering a new era in secure military communications to the UK Ministry of Defence, in the form of a unique service provision approach. The Skynet 5 Private Finance Initiative is the largest UK MOD PFI programme to date.”

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2006, Astrium had a turnover of €3.2 billion and 11,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are: the business units Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2006, EADS generated revenues of €39.4 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.

Contacts for the media
Rémi Roland
EADS Astrium (FR)
Tel.: +33 (0)1 77 75 80 37

Jeremy Close
EADS Astrium (UK)
Tel.: +44 (0)1438 77 38 72

Mathias Pikelj
EADS Astrium (GER)
Tel.: +49 (0)7545 8 91 23

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