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Ariane 5 orbits twin telecom satellites

Ariane 5 begins its on-target mission to deploy Eutelsat 21B and Star One C3, ascending from the spaceport just before sunset. An Arianespace photo

KOUROU (BNS): Continuing its successful space launch spree, European workhorse rocket Ariane 5 has orbited two telecommunications satellites on Nov. 10.

Carrying out its sixth space mission for this year, the heavy-lift rocket lifted off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 6:05 pm (2105 GMT) on Saturday after a delay of 24 hours due to inclement weather conditions at the launch site.

The mission was originally planned for Nov. 9.

The rocket deployed the Eutelsat 21B and Star One C3 spacecraft into geostationary transfer orbit during the 33-minute mission.

The two satellites will provide expanded relay capacity over the areas in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America.

Saturday's launch was the 66th flight of an Ariane 5 and the 210th launch of a European-built Ariane family vehicle, maintaining Arianespace's sustained mission pace in 2012.

"This continues our series of records with the 52nd consecutive success of our Ariane 5 launcher, which represents a reliability level that is unequaled in our industry and guarantees European access to space for the benefit of our institutional and commercial customers," said Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall.

Arianespace will continue its busy year of launch activity in 2012, with the next mission planned for November 30 when a medium-lift Soyuz rocket will orbit the French Pleiades 1B dual-use, very-high-resolution satellite.

This will be the fourth flight of Soyuz from French Guiana since its introduction at the spaceport in October 2011.


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