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Helios 2B successfully put into orbit

The Ariane 5 GS rocket carrying the Helios 2B satellite lifts off from French Guiana space centre. Image credit: Arianespace

PARIS (BNS): An Ariane 5 rocket has successfully put in orbit French military observation satellite Helios 2B which will strengthen strategic autonomy of European nations.

The launch of the satellite, which was delayed twice due to technical glitches, was carried out on Friday from the French Guiana space centre at Kourou near here.

Following a flight of 59 minutes and 20 seconds, the launch vehicle precisely injected the satellite into its sun-synchronous polar orbit, Arianespace said.

This was the seventh launch of Ariane 5 rocket for this year and 35th successful launch in a row, the company said.

The 4,200-kg Helios 2B, which joins already operational Helios 1A and Helios 2A satellites, is designed to serve as the second platform in a new-generation space-borne observation system for military applications.

The satellite has been developed in partnership with Belgium, Spain, Italy and Greece.

It will significantly increase the number of photographs taken while reducing the time needed for their acquisition, according to the French defence ministry.

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