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Ariane-5 rocket set to launch two telecom satellites


The Ariane-5 rocket. An Arianespace photo

KOUROU (BNS): European workhorse rocket Ariane-5 will carry out its sixth space launch mission this year when it lifts off with two communications satellites on Friday.

The heavy-lift rocket received the go-ahead on Wednesday to launch the two satellites - Eutelsat 21B and Star One C3 - from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana after a launch readiness review.

On Thursday, the rocket will roll out from its final assembly building to the launch pad, where it will be readied for liftoff on November 9 during a launch window that opens at 6:05 pm local time (2105 GMT), Arianespace said.

The lift-off weight at launch is estimated to be at 9,215 kg which includes 8,250 kg for the twin satellites and the launcher's dual-passenger dispenser system and integration hardware.

While the Thales Alenia-built Eutelsat 21B satellite will provide Ku-band telecommunications, data and broadband services over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, the Star One C3, built by Orbital Sciences Corp, will provide C-band and Ku-band communications services across South America and Brazil.

Friday's launch will be the penultimate mission for the Ariane-5 heavy-lift rocket for this year with the final mission lined up for mid-December.

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