Ariane rocket launches satellites – V168 (BBC)

Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK

Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket has launched two satellites from the equatorial Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. It was the 19th successful flight for the vehicle in its standard, or “Generic”, configuration.

The first satellite to be ejected was a 3,700kg communications payload for the French military called Syracuse 3A. The second spacecraft was PanAmSat’s 2,000kg Galaxy 15, which will deliver a range of TV, broadband and aircraft services over the US. Blast-off from Kourou was timed at 1932 local time (2232 GMT) on Thursday. It was Ariane’s third mission of the year.

The next launch on 9 November will see the Ariane 5-ECA fly again. This beefed up rocket can lift 10 tonnes into a geostationary transfer orbit. It will be the second qualification flight for the ECA after the rocket’s disastrous maiden mission in 2002 when it veered out of control over the ocean.

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