Ariane alert as contact lost

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By Catherine Hardy  with AFP
Ariane alert as contact lost

Two commercial satellites have been placed in orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket.

The good news comes after mission control briefly lost contact with the craft in a rare malfunction.

The European space workhorse blasted off at 2320 CET from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana, It was its first launch of the year.

It was carrying satellites for Luxembourg's SES and the United Arab Emirates Yahsat.

Controllers were left in silence for 30 minutes when the rocket lost contact.

There was relief all round when it eventually chirped back into contact.

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