Europe launcher puts Spanish, S.Korean satellites into orbit

30th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Ariane 5 heavy rocket lifted off from Europe's space base on French Guiana Wednesday and put into orbit the South Korean Koreasat 6 and Spanish Hispasat 1E telecommunications satellites.

The launch from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou was the Ariane 5 launcher's sixth and last mission of the year, Arianespace said in a statement.

Lift-off at 6:27 pm (2127 GMT) was delayed by about 24 hours because of high winds. It had already been pushed back by a week to allow one of the clients to carry out checks on its satellites.

"It is the 41st successful mission in a row of Ariane 5. In 2010 we launched 12 satellites from a world total of 20," said Arianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall.

This gave it more than 60 percent of the market, the company said in a statement.

Le Gall said the launcher's next mission was due on February 15 to send the second Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) off to resupply the International Space Station.

Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world's first satellite launch company and has 24 shareholders from 10 European countries, according to its website.

The 2.85-tonne Koreasat 6 and the 5.32-tonne Hispasat 1E were to be placed in geostationary orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometres (22,700 miles).

Koreasat 6, built by Thales Alenia Space with an operational lifespan of at least 15 years, is designed to provide telecoms and radio links for South Korea and neighbouring countries.

The Hispasat 1E will give Hispasat additional capacity, plus an expanded range of video and data transmission services, with European and pan-American coverage.

Wednesday's launch was the 55th launch by an Ariane 5 and the 199th by an Ariane from Kourou.

© 2010 AFP

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