Russian-made carrier rocket Soyuz-ST-B with six satellites blasted off from the European cosmodrome in French Guiana, in South America. The launch was carried out successfully at 23:03 local time on Friday (06:03 on Saturday Moscow time).
The rocket, equipped with the Fregat-M1 booster, is to put in orbit six satellites – four microelectronic surveillance satellites for the French military, one very high resolution Earth-imaging satellite Pleiades-1 for the European remote sensing system and a remote sensing satellite SSOT, developed by Europe’s Astrium company at the request of the Chilean armed forces.
The satellites are to be put in orbit three hours, 26 minutes after the launch.
This is the first launch of a Soyuz rocket outside the territory of the former USSR. The first one was made on October 21. Two European satellites for the Galileo navigation system were put in space.
The project for Soyuz launches from Guiana is based on an agreement between Russia and France of November 2003. Two to four launches are to be made a year. The company Arianspace company has ordered 23 such rockets from Russia.