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Ariane launches rocket; Arianespace reports financial setback
Posted: Wed, Jan 10, 2001, 10:38 PM ET (0338 GMT)
After two days of weather delays, an Ariane 4 successfully launched a communications satellite Wednesday evening. The Ariane 44P lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana at 5:09 pm EST (2209 GMT) and placed into geosynchronous transfer orbit Eurasiasat 1 (also known as Turksat 2A), a Turkish satellite that will provide communications links from Western Europe through the Middle East to East Asia. However, Arianespace also announced Wednesday that the company suffered serious financial losses in fiscal year 2000: 200 million euros (US$188 million) on revenues of 1.1 billion euros (US$1.03 billion), despite a record 12 launches last year. Company officials blamed the losses primarily on increased costs as the Ariane 5 is brought into use at the same time as the Ariane 4 is still in use, and on decreased profitability from the Ariane 4 as it is used less often for more lucrative dual-satellite launches. Arianespace chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Luton said the his company, which plans 10 more launches this year, would do "everything in our power to break even in 2001," and asked for additional support from European governments to support development programs and launch site improvements.
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