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Ariane launches communications, weather satellites
Posted: Fri, Jul 6, 2012, 10:36 AM ET (1436 GMT)
Ariane 5 launch of EchoStar 17 and MSG-3 (Arianespace) An Ariane 5 rocket launched a commercial communications satellite and a European weather satellite on Thursday evening. The Ariane 5 ECA lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 5:36 pm EDT (2136 GMT) carrying the EchoStar 17 and MSG-3 satellites, releasing both into geosynchronous transfer orbits about a half-hour later. EchoStar 17, build by Space Systems/Loral for EchoStar subsidiary Hughes, weighed 6,100 kilograms at liftoff and carries a Ka-band payload to provide broadband Internet services to customers in North America from 107.1 degrees west in GEO. The satellite is based on the same model as Intelsat-19, which suffered a solar array deployment problem shortly after launch last month; Space Systems/Loral reported the array deployment for EchoStar 17 went smoothly. MSG-3, but by Thales Alenia Space for European meteorological agency Eumetsat, weighed just over 2,000 kilograms at launch. It will provides meteorological data from GEO to support weather forecasting for Europe.
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