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Europe launches two communication satellites

Ariane 5's mission with NSS-12 and THOR 6 was performed from the Spaceport's ELA-3 launch site in French Guiana. Image credit: Arianespace

KOUROU (AP/PTI): Arianespace has launched a rocket carrying two satellites that will provide direct TV broadcasts to continents including Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Ariane 5 released the satellites into orbit on Thursday about half an hour after taking off from a launch centre in French Guiana, Arianespace, the commercial arm of the 13-country European Space Agency, said in a news release.

The satellites weighed a total of nearly 9,000 kilograms and are expected to provide service for at least 15 years.

The NSS-12 will provide telecommunications and direct-to-home TV broadcast services in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East. It is operated by SES WORLD SKIES and was built by Space Systems/Loral.

The THOR 6 will provide similar services to the Nordic region and to Central and Eastern Europe. It was built by Thales Alenia Space and is operated by Telenor Satellite Broadcasting AS, a subsidiary of Norwegian mobile operator Telenor.

This year's final Ariane 5 flight is planned for early December.

It has already completed six flights this year and placed more than 42,000 kilograms into orbit.

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