This is quite quirky and fun: Watch a double satellite launch from the Arianespace Guiana Space Centre live this afternoon, going up on an Ariane 5. Who knew Arianespace had a tv channel? I knew NASA did but that's a new one to me. Details (from the website here, where the count-down clock is ticking...):
Arianespace will launch ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus on an Ariane 5.
ABS-2 was built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL) for global satellite operator ABS. It is one of the most powerful commercial spacecraft for the Eastern Hemisphere, designed to provide multiple services that include direct-to-home and cable television distribution, VSAT, data networks and telecommunications, as well as the supply of substantial new capacity from the operator’s prime orbital location at 75 deg. East. The co-passenger, Athena-Fidus, will provide data transmission services for the French and Italian defense ministries, after the spacecraft’s deployment by the Ariane 5. Thales Alenia Space is the Athena-Fidus program prime contractor. This Ariane 5 flight will be Arianespace’s 72nd with the heavy lift launch vehicle. The Ariane 5 is part of the company’s complete launcher family, which also includes the medium weight Soyuz and the light lift Vega.
For more information, visit www.arianespace.com.