Friday, August 21, 2009
The countdown began at 6:39 am EDT this morning for the launch of a European Space Agency Ariane 5 rocket this evening from its ocean side launch pad on a multi-satellite delivery mission for Japan and Australia.
Liftoff is targeted for the beginning of a one hour launch window at 6:09 pm EDT, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, South America. (Read our preLaunch Story)
Tonight's Ariane 5 launch will be the fourth of seven planned for 2009, and will loft two huge communication satellites into geostationary orbit. The JCSat-12 for Japan and the OPTUS D3 for Australia will provide both audio and video communications for their countries central and south Pacific customers.
Arianespace hopes to increase its Ariane launch rate to ten flights next year with the addition of the new Vega launcher.
SpaceLaunchNews.com will provide LIVE launch television of the flight beginning at 5:30 pm EDT tonight. We will have Twitter (@spacelaunchnews) updates to your mobile phone or PDA.