French rocket launches two satellites

Feb. 8, 2013 at 2:55 PM
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KOUROU, French Guiana, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- French space company Ariancespace says it successfully launched two telecommunications satellites, one for Spain and one for Azerbaijan, from French Guiana.

The Ariane 5 launch orbited the Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellites, weighing a combined 20,100 pounds, into a geostationary transfer orbit Friday.

Amazonas 3 was orbited for Spanish operator Hispasat, and Azerspace/Africasat-1a for Azerbaijani operator Azercosmos and the Azerbaijani Communications Ministry, RIA Novosti reported.

Amazonas 3 will provide telecommunications services across the Americas, Europe, and North Africa, Arianespace said.

Azerspace/Africasat-1a, Azerbaijan's first national satellite, is intended for communications coverage over Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa.

"The launch of Azerbaijan's first telecommunications satellite marks an important milestone in the successful partnership with U.S. industry and the government of Azerbaijan," Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov said before the launch.

Azerspace/Africasat-1a was built for Azerbaijan by Orbital Sciences Corporation of El Secundo, Calif.

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