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Soyuz launches six satellites from Kourou
Posted: Sat, Dec 17, 2011, 10:29 AM ET (1529 GMT)
Soyuz launch of Pleiades 1A from Kourou (Arianespace) A Soyuz rocket lifted off from Kourou Friday night, placing six French and Chilean satellites into orbit. The Soyuz STA rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 9:03 pm EST Friday (11:03 pm local time Friday, 0203 GMT Saturday) and placed its payload of six satellites into Sun-synchronous orbit over the next three and a half hours. The launch's primary payload was the Pléiades 1A imaging satellite, built by EADS Astrium with a camera provided by Thales Alenia Space. The one-ton satellite is operated by the French space agency CNES and will be used to provide high-resolution Earth images for civil and military applications. Also on the Soyuz were four Electronic Intelligence by Satellite (ELISA) signals intelligence satellites, each weighing 120 kilograms and built by Astrium and Thales, for the French military. The Soyuz also placed into orbit the 117-kilogram Sistema Satelital de Observación de la Tierra (SSOT) Earth imaging satellite built by Astrium for the Chilean government. The launch was the second time a Soyuz has flown from Kourou, after the inaugural Soyuz launch in October that carried two Galileo navigation satellites.
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