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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 23:59 GMT
Ariane sends satellites to orbit
Ariane rocket lifts off
The Ariane rocket took off from French Guiana
The European heavy-lift rocket Ariane 5 has been launched from French Guiana to put two satellites in orbit.

One of the spacecraft, WildBlue, will provide broadband internet access to rural areas of the US and Canada.

The second, from telecoms company SES Americom, will provide communications to the US and western hemisphere.

The launch, the 30th for the Ariane 5 rocket, was the final one of the year from the European Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

The rocket launched on schedule at 1908 local time (2208 GMT).

The WildBlue satellite was released 27 minutes after take-off, five minutes ahead of the SES American satellite, AMC-18.

The Ariane launch was the 174th mission since the European space consortium, Arianespace, was formed in 1980.

Ariane rocket delivers satellites
13 Oct 06 |  Science/Nature
Ariane lifts record dual payload
27 May 06 |  Science/Nature
Fourth flight for biggest Ariane
12 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature
Heavy-lift Ariane flies skyward
16 Nov 05 |  Science/Nature
Q&A: Jean-Yves Le Gall
30 Nov 04 |  Science/Nature
Europe's super-rocket rides high
12 Feb 05 |  Science/Nature
Clawing back demand for satellites
26 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature

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