Monday night’s blastoff of a Vega rocket from the northern shore of South America dispatched a 2,500-pound Earth imaging satellite for Europe and put on a light show across the tropical spaceport at the edge of the Amazon.
The 98-foot-tall rocket launched at 10:51:58 p.m. local time Monday (0151:58 GMT Tuesday; 9:51:58 p.m. EDT Monday) from the Guiana Space Center. It released the camera-carrying Sentinel 2A environmental satellite into orbit nearly 500 miles above Earth about 55 minutes later.
The Ariane 5 rocket’s weekend launch from French Guiana set a weight record and produced stunning imagery as the powerful 180-foot-tall booster soared into space backdropped by the colorful orange hues of sunset on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
A Soyuz rocket launched Friday with four commercial satellites to expand broadband Internet coverage in remote parts of the world, climbing into orbit from the Guiana Space Center positioned on the northeastern shore of South America.
Four of the European Space Agency’s robotic missions, including the agency’s two Mars orbiters, are resuming science operations after a stand-down triggered by the positive diagnosis of an employee at ESA’s control center in Germany with the coronavirus.