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Launch puts two European satellites into orbit

July 26, 2013 at 1:44 PM   |   Comments

KOUROU, French Guiana, July 26 (UPI) -- Europe's largest telecommunications satellite ever manufactured has been launched into orbit atop an Ariane-5 rocket from French Guiana, officials say.

The launch took place at the European space center in Kourou at 2:54 p.m. EDT Thursday, RIA Novosti reported.

Two satellites were on board the Ariane, the European Space Agency reported on its website.

Alphasat, Europe's largest and most sophisticated telecommunications satellite, was designed in a public-private partnership between the ESA and British satellite operator Inmarsat.

It has a design lifetime of 15 years.

INSAT-3D, an Indian meteorological satellite with digital signal processors and an 11-meter antenna reflector, has been designed for an estimated service life of seven years.

Part of its mission will be to help minimize the impact of storms and natural disasters, and it also carries equipment designed to help with search and rescue operations.

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