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Articles / Astronomy

(Reuters) - A European Ariane rocket successfully launched on Wednesday from French Guiana after an earlier attempt to get into orbit was postponed for 24 hours because of strong winds at high altitudes.

Space officials said the Ariane-5 rocket blasted-off at 6.27 p.m. (2127 GMT) from the European Space Agency's launch site in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America.

High altitude winds can cause debris from the rocket to fall on populated areas.

The Hispasat 1E satellite for Spanish telecoms operator Hispasat and Koresat 6 for South Korea's Korea Telecom were subsequently deployed by the rocket.

Hispasat will provide capacity for the Spanish operator's new initiatives which include direct-to-home television, digital terrestrial television and data services throughout Europe, North Africa and the Americas.

The satellite was built by U.S. manufacturer Space Systems/Loral.

"Hispasat 1E allows our company to expand its capacity and coverage over Europe, America and Africa," Petra Mateo, Hispasat chairman said after the launch.

Koreasat 6 will provide telecommunications services throughout Korea and neighboring Asian countries.

It was jointly built by Orbital Sciences Corp. and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture company owned by France's Thales, SA and Italy's Finmeccanica.

Wednesday's launch was the 41st consecutive successful launch of the Ariane rocket series.

(Additional reporting by Alexander Miles; Editing by Matthew Jones)

Source: Reuters
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