Satellite launch successful on the fourth try

At nearly six tons, the satellite is the largest of its kind in the world.
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About a half hour after the July 18 liftoff from Kourou, French Guyana, the rocket put the Anik F2 telecommunications satellite into orbit.

After three delays due to technical and weather problems, an Ariane-5 rocket lifted off from a launch pad in South America, placing the heaviest commercial telecommunications satellite ever into orbit.

About a half hour after the July 18 liftoff from Kourou, French Guyana, the rocket put the Anik F2 telecommunications satellite into orbit. At nearly six tons, the satellite is the largest of its kind in the world. Boeing Space Systems built the satellite as part of its new 702 satellite series.

Owned by Canada’s Telesat, the satellite is designed to help ensure high-speed Internet access and digital telecommunications in North America for at least 15 years from its position over the Pacific Ocean.

The launch was Ariane’s second of five planned this year. It marked the 163rd Ariane mission since the European launcher first began operating in 1979. The next — involving the latest version of the Ariane-5 — is planned for October.

The Ariane 5 has been winning back market confidence after a major failure in December 2002. A rocket veered off course and auto-destructed four minutes into its flight.

Anik F2 is expected to begin service in October.

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