Arianespace successfully orbited two communications satellites on the weekend including Optus D2 which will provide direct TV broadcast, Internet, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.
The other satellite launched was for international operator Intelsat and both satellites were built by Orbital Sciences Corporation.
The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 GS launcher. It is the fourth this year and Ariane is the only commercial launcher in service today capable of simultaneously launching two payloads.
Two more Ariane 5 launches are scheduled by the end of the year.
Optus D2 weighed 2,350kg at launch and was fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders. It will be positioned at 152 degrees and has a design life of 15 years.
Since 1983, Arianespace has launched 47 satellites and Optus D2 is the fourth to be launched for Optus.
Arianespace launched Optus D1 in October 2006, following Optus & Defence C1 in June 2003 and Aussat K3 in 1987.
SingTel, the parent company of Optus, had already chosen Arianespace to launch its ST-1 satellite in 1998.
According to an Arianespace spokesperson, the company has signed 12 new contracts for launches into geostationary transfer orbit this year along with four contracts of low Earth orbit launches.