Published: 08.54 Europe/London, May 21, 2011

Lifting off on time from the Spaceport in French Guiana at 5:38 pm, the heavy-lift vehicle deployed its Asian/Indian payload of the ST-2 and GSAT-8 satellite passengers during a 31-minute mission that marked Ariane 5′s third launch this year.

“Coming less than one month after the previous launch, this 44th success in a row is particularly remarkable and demonstrates the competence of our operational team, which – launch after launch – confirms that it is the world’s best,” said Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall, in a statement.

The daytime launch was Arianespace’s second at the service of ST Satellite Ventures, and follows the orbiting of its ST-1 spacecraft in 1998. ST-2 will be utilised by this joint venture of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.(SingTel) and Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom Company in delivering IP-based fixed and mobile, voice and data transmission satellite services to businesses – especially direct broadcast TV operators and maritime companies in Asia and the Middle East.

The second passenger in Ariane 5′s dual-payload “stack” launch was GSAT-8, which marked the 14th Indian satellite lofted by Ariane family vehicles during a 30-year timeframe.

Three more Ariane 5 missions planned in 2011. The Spaceport’s next Ariane 5 flight is targeted for early July with the Astra 1N and BSAT 3C/JCSAT110R spacecraft, to be followed several days later
by a Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome with six Globalstar satellites.