The French military’s newest sharp-eyed optical surveillance satellite is scheduled for liftoff 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 Vega launcher lifted off Tuesday night from a spaceport at the edge of South America’s Amazon rainforest, climbed into orbit on the power of four Italian- and Ukrainian-built rocket stages, and successfully deployed a French-built, Moroccan-owned military surveillance satellite nearly 400 miles above Earth.
Europe’s MetOp-C weather satellite launched aboard a Russian-built Soyuz rocket toward polar orbit Tuesday night from French Guiana, joining an international fleet of meteorological observatories critical for global weather forecasting. Liftoff occurred at 7:47 p.m. EST Tuesday (0047 GMT Wednesday).