Skynet 4B & Astra 1A

Launch Time
Sun Dec 11, 1988 00:33 UTC

Flight V27.


Ariane 44LP
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Liftoff Thrust: 5,800 kN
Payload to GTO: 4,220 kg
Stages: 3
Strap-ons: 4
Rocket Height: 58.72 m

Mission Details

Skynet 4B

Skynet is a family of military communications satellites, now operated by Astrium Services on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence, which provide strategic communication services to the three branches of the British Armed Forces and to NATO forces engaged in coalition tasks. The satellites were operated by Paradigm Secure Communications until October 2012 when the organisation was rebranded to Astrium Services.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,250.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit

Astra 1A

Astra 1A was the first satellite launched and operated by SES, launched in December 1988.

The satellite provided television coverage to Western Europe from 1989 through 2004 and was revolutionary as one of the first medium-powered satellites, allowing reception with smaller dishes than before.

Astra 1A was retired and became derelict in December 2004.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,780.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit


ELA-2, Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, France



114th orbital launch attempt


18th mission
6th mission of 1988
16th successful mission
8th consecutive successful mission

Ariane 4

2nd mission
2nd mission of 1988
2nd successful mission