French spy satellite launched in South America

French spy satellite launched in South America

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A European rocket has roared into space from a pad in South America, placing into orbit a surveillance satellite billed as giving the French military new abilities to spy worldwide.

The unmanned craft lifted off smoothly from a launch centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite and six smaller scientific ones were placed into orbit about an hour after liftoff.

The Helios 2A military satellite, the rocket’s main cargo, was expected to monitor possible weapons proliferation, prepare and evaluate military operations and digitally map terrain for cruise-missile guidance, the French Defence Ministry said.