A COMPANY has celebrated the launch of a satellite it helped build.

Workers at Astrium’s Stevenage site gathered to watch a live feed of the six-tonne SES-6 just before 10.20am yesterday. It launched at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A major part of its construction took place in Stevenage.

The satellite will be used for TV broadcasting, mobile communications and other digital projects across America, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.

Jeremy Close, from Astrium, said workers at Stevenage were responsible for building the satellite’s service module or “life support system” for surviving in space.

He said: “With plus 150 degrees centigrade on one side of a satellite and minus 150 degrees centigrade on the other, these parts keep the electronics at about room temperature so they work properly.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland attended the celebration and gave a short speech. Other elements were also built in Portsmouth and Germany.