Ariane OK for Jap & Oz birds

Chris Forrester

Arianespace successfully orbited two satellites from its Kourou, French Guiana, on Friday night.

Japan's SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and Australian operator Optus own the satellites. The dual payload lifted off from the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana at 2209 GMT.

Weighing some 4,000 kilos the JSAT satellite will provide communication services for Japan, the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania and Hawaii. It was built by US company Lockheed Martin, and is designed to last 15 years.

The 2,500-kilo (5,500-pound) Optus is the fifth satellite hoisted into orbit for the Australian operator will provide DTH and broadcasting services for Australia and New Zealand (see separate story).

Made by Orbital Science Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, it too is made to function for 15 years.

The launch was the 190th mission completed by Ariane rockets, and the 46th by the current generation of Ariane 5 rockets. Perhaps more importantly, it is the 4th flawless flight this year of Ariane 5, and thus puts additional revenues into the coffers of Ariane.