An Ariane-5 rocket launches two satellites

An Ariane-5 rocket lifted off from a launch pad in South America Wednesday evening, carrying a U.S. broadcasting satellite and an Indonesian telecommunications satellite.

The European rocket blasted off from the Kourou launch center in French Guiana at 6:46 EST (2346 GMT.) The rocket was carrying the Spaceway 2 and Telkom 2 satellites.

The Spaceway 2, owned by U.S. broadcast satellite company DirecTV, will ensure high-definition programming to U.S. subscribers and will expand standard-definition programming, Arianespace said.

Telekomunikasi Indonesia's Telkom 2 will expand satellite communications in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The satellites have a combined weight of 8,000 kilograms (17,636 pounds).

The launch was postponed last weekend because of technical problems at the center, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Cayenne, the capital.

The launch was Ariane's fourth this year. It marked the 168th Ariane mission since the European launcher first began operating in 1979, AP reports.

А. А.

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