Arianespace launches satellite from French Guinea

December 2, 2012

(AP)—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 defense 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.

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