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Soyuz space rocket liftsoff successfully

The Soyuz rocket is shown at the ELS launch prior to its liftoff this morning from French Guiana. Photo: Arianespace.

KOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA (BNS): A Russian Soyuz rocket has lifted off successfully from French Guiana Friday carrying two satellites for the Galileo navigation system.

The rocket was launched at 7:30 am local time (1034 GMT) from French Guiana - a precise moment that enables the payload of two Galileo satellites to be injected into their proper orbital plane.

The satellites on board will be deployed as part of the European Galileo navigation system. The satellites - weighing about 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) each - will form the operational nucleus of Europe's 30-satellite Galileo navigation constellation, according to a news report by Arianespace.

The launch, from Europe's space base in South America, is the first time that Russia has sent a rocket up from outside the former Soviet Union.

Soyuz' 3-hr. 49-min. flight from the Spaceport will inject the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) spacecraft for Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system.

The first operational Galileo satellites, with a payload of 1.58 tons, will be placed in a circular orbit at an altitude of more than 23,000 kilometres, the report added.

The satellites constellation is expected to be deployed in orbit by 2020 to offer improved service for civil and commercial applications.


Soyuz  Galileo  Satellite  

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