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Ariane 4 launch successful

Western Europe's 129th Ariane rocket put into orbit a communications
satellite for U.S. operator PanAmSat after a textbook launch from equatorial
French Guiana on Tuesday, the Arianespace rocket launch company said.

The Ariane 42L rocket equipped with two liquid strap-on boosters blasted-off
at 9.29 p.m. local time (0029 Wednesday GMT) from the European Space Agency
(ESA) launch center in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South

Twenty-one minutes after launch, space officials said the Galaxy IVR
satellite separated from the rocket. The satellite will provide television,
internet and data transmission services throughout the U.S. and parts of the

Galaxy weighed 3.6 metric tons (8,000 lb) at launch and was built in
California by Hughes Space & Communications. It is designed to operate in
geostationary orbit for 15 years.

Tuesday's launch was the fourth Ariane mission this year and the 54th
consecutive successful launch of an Ariane-4 rocket.

Arianespace said it had firm orders to launch 40 heavy satellites worth an
estimated $3.5 billion.

The company's launch operations are being hampered for the third straight
year as a result of satellite manufacturers' inability to deliver satellites
when promised.


--Dan NN0DJ--

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