Soyuz rocket lifts off with military satellite payload

December 17, 2011

A Soyuz rocket lifted off on Friday from Europe's space base in French Guiana, placing into orbit six low-orbit satellites with military or joint military-industrial use.

It was the second-ever launch of the Russian-made rocket from the European Space Agency (ESA) pad in South America.

The 2.2-tonne payload included France's Pleiades 1 satellite, designed to generate 3-D and colour images from for both military and industrial use.

A second Pleiades satellite is scheduled for launch in early 2013.

Financed mainly by France's defence ministry, and built with Italian-French joint venture Thales Alenia Space, the Pleiades project is earmarked at 760 million euros (991 million dollars), according to France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

The payload also included four ELISA micro-satellites for the French military, designed to test a new system for detecting radars from space through their electromagnetic signature. If successful, they will be followed by a prototype in about 2020.

The sixth satellite, SSOT, is a small Earth-observation satellite for the Chilean military, with ground resolution of 1.45 metres (4.7 feet).

Soyuz is a Cold War veteran of space whose lineage can be traced back to 1957 with Sputnik, the first satellite, and to the first manned flight, by , in 1961.

It is being deployed in Kourou under a commercial arrangement between Russia and Arianespace, which markets launch services for ESA's Ariane 5 heavy launcher and a planned lightweight rocket, Vega.

On October 21, Soyuz made its maiden launch outside Russia's bases at Plesetsk and Baikonur, hoisting the first two satellites in Europe's Galileo .

Explore further: Soyuz launch from Europe space base set for October

Related Stories

Soyuz launch from Europe space base set for October

May 10, 2011

The maiden launch of the veteran Soviet-Russian rocket Soyuz from Europe's space base in South America has been scheduled for October, a spokesman for launch operators Arianespace said on Tuesday.

Russia's Soyuz: historic symbol of space reliability

August 25, 2011

Russia's Soyuz rocket, which failed to put a Russian supply ship into orbit, is descended from launch vehicles of the early days of the space race but until now has been a byword for reliability.

Europe's Vega rocket launch set for early 2012

December 8, 2011

Europe's new Vega rocket, which can place a 1.5-ton satellite into low-Earth orbit, is expected to see its first launch early next year, Arianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall said Thursday.

Final checks for first Soyuz launch from Kourou

October 20, 2011

Launch directors on Thursday were running through the last checks for the maiden liftoff of Soyuz, the legendary Soviet-Russian rocket, from Europe's base in French Guiana.

Russia delays commercial space launches after crash

September 13, 2011

Russia will have to delay the upcoming launch of six US satellites and two commercial European craft due to last month's Soyuz carrier rocket mishap, Russian industry sources said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P

November 22, 2017

When comet 45P zipped past Earth early in 2017, researchers observing from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, or IRTF, in Hawai'i gave the long-time trekker a thorough astronomical checkup. The results help fill in crucial ...

Uncovering the origins of galaxies' halos

November 21, 2017

Using the Subaru Telescope atop Maunakea, researchers have identified 11 dwarf galaxies and two star-containing halos in the outer region of a large spiral galaxy 25 million light-years away from Earth. The findings, published ...

Cassini image mosaic: A farewell to Saturn

November 21, 2017

In a fitting farewell to the planet that had been its home for over 13 years, the Cassini spacecraft took one last, lingering look at Saturn and its splendid rings during the final leg of its journey and snapped a series ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.2 / 5 (10) Dec 17, 2011
Soyuz is a Cold War veteran of space whose lineage can be traced back to 1957 with Sputnik, the first satellite, and to the first manned flight, by Yuri Gagarin, in 1961.

Thanks for the story and a reminder of the FEAR in this country when Sputnik was overhead and USA was still unable to launch a spacecraft !

President John F. Kennedy responded with the Apollo program to put the USA back in the space race in 1960 - the year that I started research with Professor P. K. Kuroda on the origin of the Solar System and its elements.

FEAR played a major role in the rest of the story,


In discovering neutron repulsion, we also found evidence that the great reality that surrounds and sustains us is benevolent, not dangerous, as world leaders claimed.

That cryptic message in nuclear rest mass data gave me courage to continue and to assure my former research mentor, Professor Paul Kazuo Kuroda, when he was dying in 2001:

1 / 5 (9) Dec 17, 2011
"Fear not, the universe is in good hands"


The empirical facts revealed by observations and measurements from 1960 to 2001 are just this and nothing less:

a.) There is an ill-tempered pulsar at the core of the Sun, but

b.) Life either evolved here to fit local conditions remarkably well, or

c.) Local conditions are remarkably well designed to sustain life, depending on your point of view.

Either way, the Great Reality that surrounds and sustains life on Earth is benevolent.

None of us need live in fear of fabricated tales of danger by world leaders and scientists who manipulated data and observations.

This corner of the universe and our individual roles in it are unfolding exactly as they should!

So be of good cheer and enjoy the Holiday Season!

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
3 / 5 (4) Dec 17, 2011
Uncle Sam couldn't get it up in the 40's an here it is 2012 and he can't get it up today.

5 / 5 (6) Dec 17, 2011
Let's just say that Kennedy and Reagan could hardly have imagined a day when Western spy-satellites are carried to space by a Soviet era rocket, made by the Russians, and with their consent, 12 years after the year 2000.
not rated yet Dec 17, 2011
Is it Chile's first spy satellite??
not rated yet Dec 17, 2011
any reason nat to name Astrium, prime contractor of the 6 sent satellites.

Yes innovator it is Chile first observation satellite.
1 / 5 (7) Dec 17, 2011
Let's just say that Kennedy and Reagan could hardly have imagined a day when Western spy-satellites are carried to space by a Soviet era rocket, made by the Russians, and with their consent, 12 years after the year 2000.

This state of affairs probably surprised the public more than it did the political leaders that shaped policies between the Oct 1962 Cuban missile crisis

And the still unfolding drama of the 2011 Climategate scandal:

Kennedy was already gone when the decision was made to end the space race and to unite nations against an imaginary common enemy - global climate change.

1 / 5 (3) Dec 18, 2011
In today's broken world,

1. World leaders spread fear and claim ability to control Nature

2. Precise rest mass data on every atom show:

a.) Neutrons attract protons to make stable atoms
b.) Neutrons repel other neutrons;
__Neutron-rich atoms are unstable
c.) Protons repel protons even more strongly;
__Proton-rich atoms are less stable
d.) A benevolent Reality sustains us in a "Cradle of the Nuclides"


3. The AGW scare will collapse once the public knows that a pulsar produced our elements, gave birth to the Solar System, and still controls our fate today.


Best wishes for the Holidays!
Oliver K. Manuel

PS - The greatest danger is that world leaders are frightened may act foolishly to preserve their false illusion of control.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.