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Ariane launches European communications satellite
Posted: Tue, Sep 25, 2001, 10:57 PM ET (0257 GMT)
Ariane flight 144 on the launch pad (Arianespace) An Ariane 4 rocket successfully launched a communications satellite for Eutelsat Tuesday night. The Ariane 44P, the version of the Ariane 4 that uses four solid-propellant strap-on boosters, lifted off on Flight 144 from Kourou, French Guiana at 7:21 pm EDT (2321 GMT) and placed the Atlantic Bird 2 spacecraft into geosynchronous transfer orbit 20 minutes after launch. The launch itself was delayed nearly an hour because of a telemetry problem at the launch site. Atlantic Bird 2 will be stationed in geosynchronous orbit at 8 degrees west and provide communications services for eastern North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. The launch was the seventh this year for Arianespace, with the next launch, an Ariane 4 carrying a DirecTV satellite, scheduled for November 27.
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