While military installations worldwide have been pondering
the launch of various communications satellites
, Paradigm Secure Communications' Skynet 5A has not only been already deployed, but it's busy workin' on the weekends as well. The arrangement has been dubbed the "most expensive private finance initiative ever signed by the Ministry of Defense," but the £3.6 billion ($7.12 billion) project is currently assisting UK
forces stationed in Afghanistan. The spacecraft itself was deployed in March, and has enabled a "a dramatic improvement in their communications capability." Furthermore, the next two sister sats should hit the galaxy soon to give beefed up capacity (2.5x, to be exact) to the Army, Royal Navy, and RAF, as the Skynet 5B is slated to get lit before the year's end, while Skynet 5C (the in-orbit spare) should go live in mid-2008. Ah, low ping times, clear walkie-talkie conversations, and quick downloads from remote areas of the world -- now that's a reasonable stress reliever after a hard day
on the battlefield.