Ariane rocket launches satellites after strike delay

Sep 22, 2011

An Ariane rocket launched two communications satellites into orbit Wednesday, after strike action at the Kourou space centre in French Guiana delayed take-off by a day.

The launch, Arianespace's fifth this year, put two television satellites into orbit: Arabsat 5C covering the Middle East and North Africa, and SES-2 covering North America and the Caribbean.

"It's the 46th successful launch for (rockets)" Asianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall said in Kourou following the launch there.

The launch had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, but a labor strike launched by workers with Telezpazio, a business at the base specialised in radars, delayed the operation.

The strike was called after unions demanded a pay rise and a bonus for working on Sundays.

The National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) said Wednesday that the deal to end the strike "includes an immediate resumption of work by Telespazio."

The Arabsat 5C satellite will provide television channels to the Middle East and North Africa.

The SES-2 satellite will provide television and other services to North America and the Caribbean.

Both have been placed in geostationary orbit and have a predicted operational span of at least 15 years.

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