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Ariane 5 makes 50th flight


Ariane 5ís May 21 launch with ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2. ESA-CNES-Arianespace Photo.

KOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA (BNS): Europe's Ariane 5 rocket has made its 50th flight from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

The rocket lifted away from the launch pad at 2201 GMT, on Friday, 21, carrying the ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 communications satellites. The two satellites were successfully placed into the geostationary transfer orbit, according to a news report by the Arianespace.

ASTRA 3B, built by Astrium, is the 33rd satellite from the SES group. SES ASTRA operates the leading direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcast system in Europe, serving more than 125 million households via DTH and cable networks.

ASTRA 3B was built using a Eurostar 3000M platform, and weighed 5,500 kg at launch. Fitted with 60 active Ku-band transponders and four Ka-band transponders, ASTRA 3B will be positioned at 23.5 degrees east.

COMSATBw-2 is the 34th military payload to use the European launcher.

The design of COMSATBw-2 satellites is based on the Space-bus 3000B2 satellite bus. It is integrated and tested by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium. It will deliver key communications services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces).

COMSATBw-2 will also provide a secure broadband network which guarantees uninterrupted communications between the government, military authorities and armed forces deployed around the world.

This Arianespace mission was the 194th launch of an Ariane family vehicle, and it will be followed by the next Ariane 5 flight in June with the ARABSAT-5A and COMS-1 payloads.

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