Europe space agency sends satellites into orbit

Thursday, April 10, 2003

EVRY, France -- A European Space Agency rocket roared into space from its South American base Wednesday and positioned two satellites in orbit, officials said.

The launch of the Ariane-5 rocket gave a boost to the European launcher still smarting from a December failure.

The liftoff from French Guiana at 6:52 p.m. EST was smooth and on schedule, positioning a multipurpose satellite for India and a communications satellite for Panamsat, a U.S-based company.

It was the second launch this year for Ariane. The rocket program moved ahead in fits and starts after the larger version of the Ariane-5 veered off course Dec. 11 and had to be destroyed.

Wednesday's launch was made by a smaller Ariane-5.

The European agency, which dominates the lucrative satellite launching market, has 47 orders for launches.

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