Arianespace rocket boosts 2 communications satellites

A European rocket carrying two communications satellites was successfully launched last week from South America after a one-day delay because of strong winds, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Ariane-5 ECA rocket shuttled into orbit the Astra 1L satellite for the Luxembourg-based operator SES Astra and Galaxy 17 for Bermuda-based satellite services provider Intelsat, Arianespace said in a statement.

The report said the liftoff had been rescheduled because of high-altitude winds over French Guiana that exceeded safety margins, according to technicians with Arianespace, the commercial arm of the 13-country European Space Agency.

The Astra 1L satellite was the ninth SES Astra satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, will provide broadcast services across Europe, the Associated Press report added.

The Intelsat satellite was designed to provide television and telephone services for North American customers, it added.

It was the second liftoff of the year and the 176th launch for the European space consortium since the French-led program began in 1979, the report further said.