Arianespace launches 2 satellites for DirecTV and Telkom 2

MUMBAI: An Ariane-5 ECA launcher with two telecommunications satellites was launched from the Kourou base in French Guiana early this morning.

Arianespace placed two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit: the Spaceway 2 high-definition direct broadcast satellite for DirecTV and a communications satellite for Indonesia's Telkom 2, which is owned by PT Telkom Indonesia.

The mission was initially scheduled for 24 June but was postponed several times for technical reasons.

Spaceway 2, the Boeing-built spacecraft is the second in a series of DirecTV's next generation of direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast satellites. The spacecrafts' adaptable spot beam technology and reconfigurable routing will allow DirecTV, Inc. to bring HDTV local service to most US television households.

Spaceway 2 is the 45th satellite that Arianespace has launched for US customers.

Telkom 2 was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation of the US using the Star-2 platform and is fitted with 24 C-band transponders. Telkom-2 will provide telephony, image and data transmission services in Southeast Asia and the Indian sub-continent.

Telkom 2 is the 43rd Asian satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

Arianespace has launched a total 13 satellites so far this year. Thirty minutes after the launch the rocket released satellite television firm DirecTV's Spaceway 2, which weighs 6.1 tons at lift-off, and will enable the company to provide live coverage in the United States, as well as Telkom 2, weighing nearly two tons.

This is the 20th successful Ariane 5 launch from Arianespace and the 10th successful launch in a row.

Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service capable of simultaneously launching two payloads. Ariane 5 ECA offers a payload capacity of nearly 10,000 kg. into geostationary transfer orbit, giving Arianespace's customers enhanced performance, flexibility and competitiveness through the best launch service in the world.

"Today's mission sets a new record for commercial launches: with over 8,000 kg. injected into orbit, the SpaceWay 2 and Telkom 2 satellites represent the heaviest dual payload ever launched," informed a company release.

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