European heavy-lift launcher Ariane 5 lifted off two communication satellites on Saturday.
The Ariane 5, carrying Astra 1N and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R, was launched at 2252 GMT on Saturday from Kourou launch centre in French Guiana, according to live broadcast of the launching process.
This was the fourth mission of Ariane 5 in 2011 and its 203th flight that sent off the two satellites Saturday night to their respective geostationary transfer orbits.
Astra 1N, to be separated first, is built by EADS Astrium in Toulouse, France, for the Luxembourg-based operator SES Astra. With a designed lifespan of 15 years, it has an estimated liftoff mass of 5,350 kg and is fitted with 52 active Ku-band transponders.
It is initially to deliver interim capacity from an orbital position of 28.2 degree East, and will subsequently move to SES Astra's prime location at 19.2 degree East for primary and backup services.
BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems in Newtown, Pennsylvania, for Japanese operators B-SAT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. This satellite weighs approximately 2,910 kg at launch time. It is to be positioned at 110 degree East longitude in geostationary orbit with a lifetime exceeding 16 years.
This Ariane 5 flight has been postponed twice, firstly due to some technical problem in early July and then delayed by bad weather.
Arianespace plans to achieve six Ariane 5 missions through this year.