European launch provider Arianespace is sending two communication satellites into orbit this afternoon on top of an Ariane 5 rocket. The satellites come from two of the world's top telecommunications providers — EUTELSAT and Intelsat — and will help provide connectivity services to Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
The mission marks the fourth Ariane 5 launch of this year. The vehicle is scheduled to take off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana at 4:10PM ET — but if there are any delays, the rocket can still launch any time until 5:56PM ET.
* Assuming it sticks to the scheduled 4:10PM ET launch.
The larger of the two satellites packaged inside the rocket is the EUTELSAT 8 West B, which will deploy 28 minutes after take off. The satellite is designed to provide high-definition and ultra-high-definition TV broadcast services to North Africa and the Middle East. EUTELSAT will also use the satellite to provide telecommunication services to Africa and eastern South America.
The second satellite, Intelsat 34, will deploy 42 minutes after launch. This spacecraft will provide access to channels like Fox and HBO to Latin America, while providing broadband access to ships traveling in the North Atlantic.