Firing off the launch pad with more than a half-million pounds of thrust, a Vega rocket soared into space Monday night from French Guiana with Europe’s Sentinel 2B environmental satellite.
The 98-foot-tall (30-meter), four-stage rocket, powered by Italian and Ukrainian propulsion, took off at 10:49:24 p.m. local time in French Guiana (0149:24 GMT; 8:49:24 p.m. EST). Less than an hour later, the Vega launcher released Sentinel 2B into its planned orbit nearly 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth.
Read our full story for details on the Vega rocket’s ninth mission.
The images of posted below show the Vega rocket on the launch pad during retraction of the mobile gantry a few hours before flight, followed by the booster’s late-night blastoff.
The French military’s newest sharp-eyed optical surveillance satellite lifted off at 1637 GMT (11:37 a.m. EST) Wednesday from French Guiana aboard a Russian-built Soyuz launcher, marking Arianespace’s 11th and final launch of 2018. The Soyuz rocket and Fregat upper stage will place the CSO 1 spacecraft into orbit around 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth. Managers delayed the launch from Tuesday due to unfavorable high-altitude winds.
A Soyuz rocket carrying a military spy satellite for the United Arab Emirates lifted off from French Guiana at 8:33 p.m. EST Tuesday (0133 GMT Wednesday). A launch attempt Sunday night was scrubbed due to the risk of lightning, and a countdown Monday was called off due to a telemetry issue associated with the range safety system at the Guiana Space Center.