Ariane rocket launches two satellites

PARIS - An Ariane-5 rocket placed two telecommunications satellites into geostationary orbit early Saturday, the 45th successive success for the European rocket, Arianespace announced.

The rocket blasted off from the European space centre at Kourou, French Guiana, at 2253 GMT (6am Singapore time).

The two satellites are the Astra 1N, belonging to Luxembourg's SES Astra, and the BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R, owned by Japan's B-SAT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.

The Astra 1N will provide direct-to-home television services across Europe for 15 years while the other will help provide television services in Japan.

Astra 1N was built by EADS Astrium while the other was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems.