Arianespace (Space Pavilion, Hall 5) has successfully launched an Ariane 5 rocket carrying Anik F2, the world's heaviest commercial telecommunications satellite.

The rocket lifted off from the European Space Agency's launch centre in Kourou, French Guyana in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Twenty-eight minutes after launch, the rocket released the 6t Anik F2 for Ottawa-based Telesat Canada. The satellite, which has a solar array that will span 48m (160ft) once deployed, will provide broadband Internet access across much of Canada and the USA when it becomes fully operational in October.

The launch, which placed the Boeing-built telecoms satellite into orbit, had previously been delayed three times due to bad weather and technical problems.

The Ariane 5 project has been winning back confidence after a major failure in December 2002, when a heavy version of the rocket veered off course and auto-destructed 4min into its flight.


Company chief executive Jean-Yves Le Gall told reporters that another attempt to launch the 10t version would be made in October.

Arianespace and EADS-Space Transportation recently signed a E3 billion ($3.7 billion) contract for the construction of 30 Ariane 5 launch vehicles.


Source: Flight Daily News