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Delayed Soyuz Launch from Kourou Set for Sunday

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Another launch attempt of the Soyuz-ST-a carrier rocket with the Pleiades 1B dual-purpose observation satellite will be held at the Kourou space center in French Guiana on Sunday morning, a European Space Agency spokesman told RIA Novosti.

MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) - Another launch attempt of the Soyuz-ST-a carrier rocket with the Pleiades 1B dual-purpose observation satellite will be held at the Kourou space center in French Guiana on Sunday morning, a European Space Agency spokesman told RIA Novosti.

The launch, scheduled to take place on Saturday, was postponed half an hour before the planned liftoff over technical problems.

“European and Russian specialists expect the launch to take place at 6:02 a.m. Moscow time [2:02 a.m. GMT] on Sunday,” the spokesman said.

Once launched, the Pleiades 1B is to join its “twin”, Pleiades 1A, to collect high-resolution imagery of objects as small as 0.5 meters. The satellites, which took the French Space Agency (CNES) nearly a decade to develop, will be used by the French military, other European governments and commercial customers.

The first launch of a Russian rocket beyond the ex-Soviet borders was held on October 22, 2011, when Russia’s Soyuz-ST-a carrier rocket blasted off from Kourou.

The Soyuz-ST is a modification of the three-stage Soyuz-2 rocket with a Fregat booster adapted for launch in high heat and humidity prevalent in Kourou.

 

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