August 20, 2009

Arianne 5 Rocket Launching Two Satellites

On Friday, an Ariane 5 rocket is set to send two communications satellites into space, one for Japanese telecom operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and a second for Australian operator Optus.

Arianespace said in a statement that the dual payload is scheduled for lift off from the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana between 22:09 and 23:09 GMT on August 21.

The JSAT satellite, which weighs about 8,800 pounds, will provide communication services for Japan, the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania and Hawaii.  It is designed to last 15 years and was built by U.S. company Lockheed Martin.

The 5,500-pound Optus will be the fifth satellite put into orbit by the Australian operator, and it will provide direct TV and broadcasting services for Australia and New Zealand.

This satellite was also made to run for 15 years, but was created by Orbital Science Corporation in Dulles, Virginia.

Both the satellites will be in geostationary orbit, which is an orbit that is in synch with the Earth's rotation at the latitude as the equator, hovering constantly over the same spot.

This will be the 190th mission completed by Ariane rockets once successful, and the 46th by the current generation of Ariane 5 rockets.


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