Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

  • Frantic search for South Korea ferry passengers continues

    Read more

  • Kiev powerless as pro-Russia activists seize armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘this election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

Europe

Soyuz blasts off, carrying Galileo satellites to space

©

Video by Shirli SITBON

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-10-21

After a one-day delay, the Russian rocket Soyuz successfully blasted off from its base in French Guiana on Friday carrying satellites for the Galileo project, a European version of the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

REUTERS - A Russian Soyuz rocket successfully blasted off from French Guiana on Friday bearing the first two satellites in Europe's Galileo global positioning system, a much-heralded mission that will redraw commercial competition in space.

The launch from Europe's space base in South America was the first time that Soyuz, which first flew in 1966 and traces its roots back to the earliest Cold War intercontinental ballistic missiles, has taken off from outside its old Soviet Union bases.

The rocket lifted off at 7:30 am local time (1030 GMT) from the base near Kourou, French Guiana, on the northeast coast of South America, and the Galileo satellites separated four hours later. Heavy rain had no impact on the operation.

"A new chapter has started in Europe's history," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Arianespace chief executive.

The culmination of more than a decade of planning, the launch had to be delayed by 24 hours from Thursday after a leaky valve was detected in the rocket's fuelling system.

The EU commissioner in charge of industry and space policy, Antonio Tajani, said a new tender would be announced on Friday for six or eight satellites of the Galileo group.

He added that the commission wanted to reduce Galileo's costs by 500 million euros ($695 million).
Once fully operational later this decade, the Galileo system aims to give Europeans autonomy from the U.S. government-controlled Global Positioning System. Russia says it recently completed its own similar system.

Rather than build a new rocket from scratch, Europe decided to build a 467 million euro launch pad for Soyuz in the French Guiana base where it already launches its Ariane rocket family.
France has covered more than 80 percent of the construction costs and all of the 70 million euro cost overruns.

In return, the Russian State Space Agency (Roscomos) will receive tens of millions of euros for each rocket that is built and shipped from its Samara Space Centre. "Soyuz will give us a complete range of launchers," Le Gall told Reuters.

Arianespace plans to launch at least two Soyuz rockets a year from now on in addition to its Ariane-5 heavy-lift launcher, and the rocket series will be completed by a smaller vehicle, Vega, slated for launch next year.

Contracts for 16 Galileo satellites have already been signed: four with Franco-German maker Astrium and 12 with German company OHB. The Galileo line should have 30 satellites by 2020.

"I will announce a new tender for the construction of six or eight satellites," Tajani told reporters at the Kourou spaceport. "The signature of the new contract is planned in February."

Arianespace is principally owned by the French Space Agency (CNES) with 34 percent and Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of European aerospace giant EADS , holding 30 percent.

Friday's launch follows years of discussions, delays and budget disputes over Galileo since France and Russia agreed in 2003 to co-operate on Soyuz launches.

"Soyuz is only the beginning of a cooperation that will go much further," said Russia's deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov.

Date created : 2011-10-21

  • SPACE

    Soyuz lift-off delayed hours before launch

    Read more

  • SPACE

    Europe’s spy satellites take on US might in the skies

    Read more

  • SPACE

    French spy satellite Helios 2B takes off on board Ariane rocket

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)