Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ariane 5 rockets puts Africa's first satellite into space

On Friday Africa flew into the space age on an Ariane 5 rocket. It was an African telecommunications satellite though there was also another satellite on the rocket made by a US-Japanese joint venture, Arianespace said. The rocket, the 36th launch of an Ariane 5 and the sixth this year, lifted off at 9:42 GMT and successfully placed the satellites for the pan-African operator RascomStar-QAF and US-Japanese Horizons 2 Satellite LLC. The pan-African satellite, weighing 3.2 tonnes, is the first from the continent to be put into space. Several African dignitaries witnessed the launch but Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, who was expected, was a no show. The Horizons-2 satellite, weighing 2.3 tonnes, was manufactured by Satellite LLC, a joint venture between Intelsat of the US and Japanese firm JSAT. Hopefully Africa will continue with space ventures and catch up with the rest of the world. I would say this is a good start.

The Fool

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