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Ariane launches record payload
Posted: Sat, Apr 23, 2011, 7:54 AM ET (1154 GMT)
Ariane 5 launch of Yahsat 1A and Intelsat New Dawn (ESA/CNES/Arianespace) An Ariane 5 launched its heaviest payload to date on Friday night, placing two communications satellites into orbit. The Ariane 5 ECA lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 5:37 pm EDT (2137 GMT) Friday, carrying the Intelsat New Dawn and Yahsat 1A satellites. Intelsat New Dawn, built as a joint venture between Intelsat and South African investors, is a Orbital Sciences Corporation Star-2 model, weighing 3,000 kilograms at liftoff. It carries 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders to provide communications services to Africa from 32.8 degrees east. Yahsat 1A is a Eurostar E3000 model, built jointly by EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, weighing 5,935 kilograms at launch. It carries 25 Ku-band and 14 C-band transponders and will be used by UAE satellite operator Yahsat to provide government and commercial communications services over the Middle East and Africa from 52.5 degrees east in GEO. The combined mass of the satellites and payload adapter, just over 10,000 kilograms, made this launch the heaviest GEO payload launched on an Ariane 5. The launch, the second this year for the Ariane 5, had been scheduled for late March but was aborted at the last second by a technical glitch.
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