A European Ariane 5 rocket took off on its first flight of the year Wednesday with a new-generation communications satellite for Intelsat, lighting up the sky over its French Guiana launch base as it arced over the Atlantic Ocean.
The 180-foot-tall (55-meter) rocket launched at 2320 GMT (6:20 p.m. EST) Wednesday from the ELA-3 launch zone at the Guiana Space Center, where it was 8:20 p.m. local time.
The liftoff marked the first of up to eight Ariane 5 missions scheduled for 2016.
The launcher’s upper stage successfully deployed the Intelsat 29e satellite into orbit about 30 minutes after liftoff, raising the Ariane 5’s success streak to 70 consecutive missions.
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