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Inaugural Vega launch a success
Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2012, 9:50 PM ET (0250 GMT)
Vega launch on first mission (ESA) The first launch of Europe's new small launch vehicle was a success Monday, placing nine small satellites into orbit. The Vega rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 5:00 am EST (1000 GMT) at the beginning of a three-hour launch window. The four-stage rocket released its payloads into low Earth orbit 55 to 70 minutes later. The largest satellite on this mission was LARES, an Italian satellite designed to measure the warping of spacetime caused by the Earth's rotation. The rocket carried other smaller satellites, mostly cubesats. The launch was the first for the Vega, developed by the European Space Agency to launch smaller satellites more efficiently than the larger Soyuz and Ariane rockets that also launch from Kourou.
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