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Soyuz launches European weather satellite
Posted: Wed, Sep 19, 2012, 2:04 PM ET (1804 GMT)
Soyuz launch of Metop-B (ESA) A Soyuz rocket successfully launched a European polar-orbiting weather satellite on Monday. The Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:28 pm EDT (1628 GMT, 10:28 pm local time) Monday and placed the Metop-B satellite into a polar orbit at an altitude of 810 kilometers. The satellite, built by EADS Astrium for the European weather agency Eumetsat, will provide weather data to augment that provided by the agency's satellites in geosynchronous orbit. It will also provide continuity for Metop-A, launched in 2006 and still operational, although past its design life. The launch had been planned for earlier this year but was delayed by disputes between Russia and Kazakhstan over the drop zones for stages of the Soyuz flying on this particular trajectory out of Baikonur.
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