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07.08.2019 US & Canada

Successful French Guiana rocket takes off with two satellites

Successful French Guiana rocket takes off with two satellites
LISTEN AUG 7, 2019

A rocket has successfully set off from French Guiana on a mission to deposit two satellites above the Earth's equator.

Ariane 5 headed eastward over the Atlantic Ocean after lifting off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou on Tuesday afternoon.

The 7,023-pound rocket surpassed speeds of up to 20,500 mph on its journey, which was viewed by many through an online live stream.

Arianespace's original mission was unsuccessful in July after a different rocket failed to reach orbit.

The vehicle suffered an unknown issue which resulted in it falling out of the sky.

The spacecraft is designed to provide connectivity over Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The first satellite, named the Intelsat 39 Telecommunications, will serve broadband network and video across the surrounding regions.

Already 2,000 active satellites
The second communication satellite, EDRS-C, will be positioned over the equator to connect with lower altitude aircrafts, drones and satellites.

There are around 2,000 active satellites estimated to be orbitting the Earth, which are used to relay commercial communications, track the weather and spy.

France revealed last month that they plan to develop anti-satellite laser weapons, but will only use them in self-defence.

Defence minister Florence Parly laid out the country's new military strategy for space, saying:

"If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind those of our adversaries."