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Ariane launches two satellites
Posted: Fri, Feb 7, 2014, 8:10 AM ET (1310 GMT)
Ariane 5 launch of ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus (Arianespace) An Ariane 5 successfully launched two communications satellites Thursday evening, starting what is planned to be a busy year for European launch provider Arianespace. The Ariane 5 ECA lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 4:30 pm EST (2130 GMT) Thursday, after a one-hour weather delay, and released the ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit about a half-hour later. ABS-2, a Space Systems/Loral 1300-series spacecraft, weighed 6,330 kilograms at launch and carries a payload of C-, Ka-, and Ku-band transponders. Asian satellite operator Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) will use the satellite at 75 degrees east in GEO to provide communications services from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region. Athena-Fidus, or Access on THeatres for European Nations Allied forces - French Italian Dual Use Satellite, is a Spacebus 4000B2 model spacecraft built by Thales Alena Space for the French and Italian space agencies. Those agencies will use the satellite at 38 degrees east in GEO to support military communications. The launch is the first of more than ten launches planned in 2014 by Arianespace using the Ariane 5, Soyuz, and Vega rockets.
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