Russian-made rocket lifts observation satellite into orbit
This photo released on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows a Soyuz rocket lifting off from the Kourrou space base, French Guiana. (AP Photo/S Martin, ESA)
Published Sunday, December 2, 2012 11:23AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 2, 2012 11:24AM EST
KOUROU, French Guiana -- A Russian-made rocket has put an observation satellite into orbit after blasting off from a European space consortium's launchpad in French Guiana.
Arianespace says the Pleiades 1B satellite was put into orbit during a 55-minute flight by a Soyuz rocket late Saturday.
The satellite will provide optical images of Earth for French and European defence ministries and others. France's CNES space agency is the main contractor for the Pleiades satellites.
Arianespace says it's the fourth mission by a Russian-made Soyuz rocket from French Guiana since its introduction to the South American site in October 2011.
The company has 21 shareholders from 10 European countries, including France's CNES space agency.
Arianespace chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall says 23 payloads have been placed into orbit from French Guiana this year.