An Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle successfully placed twocommunications satellites, Athena-Fidus and ABS-2 into orbit after its launch from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana at 2130 GMT on 6 February. Stormy weather delayed the launch by one hour.
Athena-Fidus is a joint Franco-Italian communications satellite aimed at giving lesser secure broadband communications via its Ka-band and EHF communications payload to France’s and Italy’s military and police forces, taking the load off some of their other military communications space assets.
Built by Space Systems/Loral ABS-2 is a commercial communications satellite to be located at 75 degrees East in the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) arc for the Hong Kong-based satellite operator Asia Broadcast Satellite.
The flight was the 58th consecutive flight success for the Ariane 5 rocket series since its last failure.