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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Soyuz ST-a rocket launches from Kourou

Arianespace successfully launched its fourth Soyuz ST-a rocket from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana, orbiting the Pléiades 1B observation satellite for French space agency, CNES.  The Russian-made rocket soared into space at 9:02 pm (Washington) from a pad at Europe's space base near Kourou, on the northeast coast of South America.

The Soyuz-ST is a modification of the three-stage Soyuz-2 rocket with a Fregat upper stage adapted for launch in high heat and humidity prevalent in Kourou. It is fitted with a radar transponder allowing its location to be monitored and controlled in flight, according to RIA Novosti. During a flight lasting 55 minutes, the Soyuz vehicle deployed its 970kg. Pléiades 1B satellite into a targeted circular orbit.
Arianespace has carried out nine missions from the Guiana Space Center to date in 2012, including six Ariane 5, two Soyuz and one Vega launch. The company's European-Russian subsidiary, Starsem, has also carried out a Soyuz launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Arianespace has scheduled another Ariane 5 launch by the end of the year.

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