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Ariane 5 launches two satellites
Posted: Thu, Nov 15, 2007, 7:40 AM ET (1240 GMT)
Ariane 5 launch of Skynet 5B and Star Once C1 (ESA/CNES/Arianespace) After two technical delays, an Ariane 5 finally launched a pair of communications satellites for the British military and Brazil on Wednesday evening. The Ariane 5 lifted off from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana at 5:06 pm EST (2206 GMT) and placed the SKynet 5B and Star Once C1 satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit about a half-hour later. The launch had been scheduled for Friday but was delayed to replace an electronics unit on the rocket; a second attempt Monday was scrubbed because of a problem with ground equipment that suppled the rocket's upper stage with liquid hydrogen. Skynet 5B is a Eurostar 3000 spacecraft built by EADS Astrium for Paradigm, the private venture that is providing communications services for the British Ministry of Defence. The 4,700-kg spacecraft will operate from 56 degrees east. Star One C1 is a Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 3000B3 spacecraft built for Brazilian satellite operator Star One. The 4,100-kg spacecraft will operate from 65 degrees west, providing communications services throughout South America. The launch, the fifth of six Ariane 5 missions planned for this year, also set a record for the heaviest overall mass launched to GEO.
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