Sun, Oct 15, 2006
Arianespace Orbits Three Satellites
Thanks to Arianespace's
Ariane-5 rocket, three customers in the US, Australia and Japan
have new satellites in orbit as of late Friday.
The Ariane-5 rocket lifted off from Arianespace's launch
facility in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South
The powerful, heavy-lift rocket is billed by the
company as the most cost-effective launch platform for large, heavy
satellites. The rocket can boost up to 11 tons into orbit.
The six-ton DIRECTV 9S was first off the rocket into orbit. The
satellite will provide high-definition broadcast capability for
DirecTV customers in the US including Alaska and Hawaii.
Six minutes later, the 2.5 ton OPTUS D1 floated away on its
mission to provide direct television, telephone and data services
for Australia and New Zealand.
Optus executive vice president Bill Hope told Reuters, "We have
already had six (satellite) launches, but none has been as critical
as this one as it will replace our (OPTUS) B1 satellite that is
approaching the end of its operational life."
The final satellite placed in orbit was Japan's LDREX-2. It
carries an experimental antenna for the Japan Aerospace Exploration
This makes the sixth consecutive successful commercial launch
for Ariane-5. The first rocket exploded in flight during the
initial launch attempt in 2002.
European aviation and space conglomerate EADS owns 28-percent of
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