PARIS, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Heavy-lift launcher Ariane 5 took off Thursday in French Guiana, launching two satellites into orbit, including Europe's largest mobile telecommunication satellite.
The liftoff took place at 4:54 p.m. local time (1954 GMT) at the French and European spaceport Guiana Space Center near Kourou in French Guiana, said Arianespace, the French company undertaking production and operation of the rocket launcher.
The nearly 33-minute flight was the third launch of Ariane 5 in 2013 and marked the launcher's 56th consecutive successful mission.
The rocket carried two satellites: Europe's Alphasat telecommunication satellite as its upper payload, and India's INSAT-3D meteorological satellite as the lower one.
According to Arianespace, Alphasat was deployed into the target orbit 28 minutes after launch, and INSAT-3D was successfully separated from the rocket five minutes later.
As Europe's largest telecommunication satellite ever manufactured, Alphasat is loaded with a new-generation L-band geo-mobile communications relay system that will provide voice and data transmission services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
It was built by Astrium, an aerospace subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
INSAT-3D, developed by Indian space agency, carries a six-channel imager, 19-channel sounder and a data relay transponder for satellite-aided search and rescue operations. It will provide enhanced meteorological observation and monitoring of land-ocean surfaces.