French military satellite shot into space

The Arianne 5 rocket lifts off into space with the French observation satellite Helios 2B by Arianespace center from Kourou launch site in French Guiana, Southern America, December 18, 2009. Credit: AFP Photo

The delayed French observation satellite Helios 2B was finally launched atop Arianne 5 rocket into space on Friday by Arianespace center from Kourou launch site in French Guiana, Southern America.

The Ariane 5 rocket carrying the military satellite lifted off at 1626 GMT Friday. The mission, initially scheduled to be launched on Dec. 9, has been postponed two times. The latest on Thursday halted the countdown during the final minutes as an incoherence of records emerged.

The 4.2-ton Helios 2B satellite, heading into sun-synchronous polar orbit, will enable French Defense Ministry to access to better images and identification on sites, areas of military interest during its around the clock service.

A French official at the launch site said that the satellite would be “eyes of our defense system” and reinforce France’s capability to develop new intelligent system in the future.

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