Ariane rocket puts two satellites into orbit

An Ariane rocket has put two satellites into orbit after a launch from French Guiana on Saturday.

Cayenne: An Ariane rocket has put two satellites into orbit after a launch from French Guiana on Saturday, space officials said.

The Ariane-5 rocket blasted off from the European Space Agency`s launch center in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America at 6.41 p.m. (2141 GMT).

Originally slated for launch on Wednesday, countdown was halted seconds before lift-off when a technical problem was detected.

A second launch attempt on Thursday was also halted because of technical problems.

Twenty-six minutes after lift-off the Arabsat-5A satellite separated from the rocket.

Arabsat is designed for telecommunications throughout the Middle East and north Africa for Riyadh-based Arabsat.

The satellite weighed 4.9 metric tones at launch and was built by a consortium led by EADS-Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.

"The Riyadh station is going to pick up the satellite within a few minutes and there will be a partial deployment of the solar panels," Arabsat satellite manager Ahmad Al-Shraideh said.

Six minutes later the South Korean COMS satellite separated from the rocket.

COMS will provide weather forecasting, ocean monitoring and telecommunications for South Korea`s Aerospace Research Institute (Kari).

"After separation of COMS our satellite will be managed by Astrium in Toulouse (France)," Koonha Yang of Kari said.

"Then our Kari ground station in Korea will take over COMS and perform in-orbit tests," he said.

COMS weighed 2.4 metric tones and was also built by EADS-Astrium.

Saturday`s launch was the 37th consecutive successful launch of an Ariane rocket.

Bureau Report

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