Satellite built in Portsmouth launched into space today

TAKE OFF Astrium employees watching the live launch
TAKE OFF Astrium employees watching the live launch
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A COMMUNICATIONS satellite partially-built in Portsmouth has been launched today.

The spacecraft built by Astrium for satellite company SES, launched aboard a rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Astrium, in Portsmouth, helped to build the payload part of the satellite, which controls the nerve centre of the spacecraft.

Once in space, the satellite will be operated from Portsmouth for the next 15 years.

James Hinds, head of payload for Astrium in Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s testimony to the expertise of the folk down south how they can bring this equipment together from all over Europe and the world to bring these spacecraft as an assembled and tested item here.

‘There’s a lot of people working on this together but it’s a real achievement for the Portsmouth site working with other sites across Europe.

‘The complete payload was built in Portsmouth, with parts from all over the world.

‘You can split the spacecraft in to two parts, you have the payload, which earns money for the end customer.

‘But then you have the platform and they are the life-keeping elements, the power the structure, and that was put together in Stevenage.

‘Then they got shipped to Toulouse, in France, and roughly for about six to eight months where we test it as a complete spacecraft.

‘The spacecraft was finished in May, before it was shipped to Kazakhstan.’