Africa's first private-sector communications satellite that will provide broadband and wireless services has been launched from South America bearing South African statesman Nelson Mandela's signature, according to a statement from Arianespace on Saturday.
The Ariane 5 took off late Friday from French Guiana carrying the Intelsat New Dawn, which was built through a joint venture with Intelsat and Convergence Partners consortium. The satellite also was imprinted with a Zulu phrase that means: "Go Well, New Dawn."
It joins 21 other Intelsat satellites serving Africa.
Also launched was the Yahsat Y1A, the first satellite operated by the United Arab Emirates' Al Yah Satellite Communications Co. It will provide customized relay services for governments and businesses in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
The Ariane 5 was carrying a record 10,050 kilograms (22,156 pounds).
The satellites were supposed to be placed in orbit in late March, but Arianespace, the commercial arm of the 13-country European Space Agency, postponed the launch after reporting problems with the rocket's main engine.