June 28, 2010

Ariane Rocket Sends Two Satellites Into Orbit

Space officials said that an Ariane rocket has put two satellites into orbit after launching from French Guiana on Saturday.

The rocket took off from the European Space Agency's launch center in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America at 6:41 p.m.

The countdown was halted during its original schedule date on Wednesday due to a technical problem.

A second attempt took place on Thursday, but was also halted because of technical problems.

Arabsat is designed for telecommunications throughout the Middle East and North Africa for Riyadh-based Arabsat.

The satellite weighed 4.9 metric tons at launch and was built by EADS-Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.

"The Riyadh station is going to pick up the satellite within a few minutes and there will be a partial deployment of the solar panels," Arabsat satellite manager Ahmad Al-Shraideh said.

The South Korean COMS satellite separated six minutes later from the rocket.

COMS will provide weather forecasting, ocean monitoring and telecommunications for South Korea's Aerospace Research Institute (Kari).

"After separation of COMS our satellite will be managed by Astrium in Toulouse (France)," Koonha Yang of Kari said.

"Then our Kari ground station in Korea will take over COMS and perform in-orbit tests," he said.

Saturday's launch was the 37th consecutive successful launch of an Ariane rocket.


Image Caption: Ariane 5 flight V195 lifts off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying the Arabsat-5A telecommunications satellite and the multi-mission COMS satellite, into geostationary transfer orbits. Liftoff of V195, the 51st Ariane 5 flight, came at 23:41 CEST (21:41 GMT; 18:41 French Guiana). The target orbit had a perigee of 250 km and an apogee of 35 786 km, inclined at 2º to the equator. The satellites were accurately injected into their transfer orbits about 26 minutes and 32 minutes after liftoff, respectively.


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