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NATO-4 is the a communications satellite system serving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and British Ministry of Defense. NATO 4A was the first of two new-generation comsats offering secure military and diplomatic voice and data communications to NATO member nations and troops in the field. The satellites offered spot beam and global coverage to reach a wide range of ground stations and ships at sea. The communications package housed four SHF and two UHF channels. The payload was provided by Marconi Space Systems; the satellites were built by British Aerospace. Based on the Skynet 4 design, it was box-shaped, measuring 2.1 m high by 1.9 m long by 1.4 m wide. Solar arrays spanned 16 m and provided 1,200 W at end of life. The satellite had a 7-year design life.

NATO 4B was retired in 2016 and was moved into a graveyard orbit above the geostationary belt.

Nation: International
Type / Application: Military communication
Operator: NATO
Contractors: BAe → Matra Marconi
Equipment: 4 SHF transponders, 2 UHF transponders
Configuration: ECS-Bus
Propulsion: Star-30E
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 7 years
Mass: 1434 kg
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
NATO 4A 1991-001A 08.01.1991 CC LC-17B Delta-7925
NATO 4B (USA 98) 1993-076A 08.12.1993 CC LC-17A Delta-7925


  • Donald H. Martin: Communication Satellites, Aerospace Press, 1991, p 118
Further NATO missions:

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