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Soyuz launches Corot astronomy satellite
Posted: Wed, Dec 27, 2006, 8:10 PM ET (0110 GMT)
Corot illus. (CNES) A Soyuz rocket launched on Wednesday a French-built astronomy satellite designed to look for extrasolar planets. The Soyuz 2-1b vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:23 am EST (1423 GMT) and placed the Corot satellite into a 827-kilometer polar orbit. The spacecraft, whose name is derived from "Convection Rotation and planetary Transits", is a spacecraft built by the French space agency CNES with contributions from other European nations and ESA. It is designed to study acoustic waves that ripple across the surfaces of stars, as well as detect transits across the disks of those stars by planets orbiting them. The launch was the first for the 1b version of the Soyuz 2, which features an upgraded third-stage engine. The launch was also the 66th and final scheduled launch of 2006.
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