Ariane rocket places two satellites into orbit

June 27, 2010

An Ariane 5 rocket Saturday successfully placed two satellites in orbit, after twice delaying the launch for technical reasons this week.

The launch at 6:41 pm (2141 GMT) was the second for an Ariane 5 from the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, this year and the 51st for the rocket since 1996.

Arianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall said the "flight was absolutely perfect, totally in line with what had been expected," after launches planned for Wednesday and Thursday had been delayed.

Riyadh-based communications operator Arabsat's 4.9-tonne satellite, made by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, separated 26 minutes and 39 seconds after the launch while the South Korean satellite separated 32 minutes later.

Arabsat 5A will to broadcast television programmes to the Middle East and North Africa, Arianespace said.

The nearly 2.5-tonne COMS (Communication, Ocean and ) is South Korea's first geostationary ocean and was made by Astrium for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

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