Ariane 5 launches French military satellite

14th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

KOUROU, French Guiana, Oct 13 (AFP) - A European rocket blasted off here Thursday, hoisting aloft a new-generation French military satellite and an American commercial communications satellite, an AFP reporter saw.

KOUROU, French Guiana, Oct 13 (AFP) - A European rocket blasted off here Thursday, hoisting aloft a new-generation French military satellite and an American commercial communications satellite, an AFP reporter saw.

The standard-model Ariane 5 lifted off from Europe's South American space base at Friday 12:32am (Thursday 10:32pm GMT).

Its 6.5-tonne payload comprised Syracuse 3A, the first in a new generation of satellites designed to provide ultra-secure communications for the French military, and Galaxy 15, for the US communications operator PanAmSat.

The two satellites were successfully placed in geostationary orbit around half an hour after launch, with the French satellite being released seven minutes before the American one.

Syracuse 3A "is the cornerstone in a European military satcom system", designed to integrate with Britain's Skynet and Italy's Sicral under an arrangement by which NATO allies pool their satellite resources, the launch operator Arianespace said.

It has an expected lifespan of 12 years and is designed to allow military satellite communications capacity to increase 10-fold, ensuring unequalled security against surveillance and interference. It will also provide important communications in difficult-to-access areas.

Syracuse 3A was built by the Franco-Italain group Alcatel Alenia Space.

Galaxy 15 was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation for Panamsat.

It is the fourth mission of the year for Arianespace, which markets the European Space Agency's Ariane series of launchers.

The Ariane 5 has made 23 launches in its career, including this one.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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