Ariane rocket to hoist communications satellites


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 20, 2009 at 5:31 AM EDT

An Ariane 5 rocket is set to propel two communications satellites into space Friday, one for Japanese telecom operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and second for Australian operator Optus.

The dual payload is scheduled for lift off from the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana between 22:09 and 23:09 GMT on August 21, Arianespace said in a statement.

Weighing some 4,000 kilos (8,800 pounds), 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 will be the fifth satellite hoisted into orbit for the Australian operator will provide direct TV and broadcasting services for Australia and New Zealand.

Made by Orbital Science Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, it too is made to function for a decade-and-a-half.

Both satellites will be in geostationary orbit, meaning they will move in synch with Earth's rotation at the latitude as the equator, hovering constantly over the same spot.

If successful, the launch will the 190th mission completed by Ariane rockets, and the 46th by the current generation of Ariane 5 rockets.

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