Europe's first Vega rocket blasted off from French Guiana on Monday in an inaugural flight aimed at giving Europe a vehicle for scientific satellite missions.
The rocket took off from the European Space Agency's launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, on the northeast coast of South America at 7 a.m. local time, with nine scientific satellites on board.
Vega will complement the family of rockets currently available for launch from Guiana: the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher introduced in 1996, and Soyuz, a medium-class launcher.
Monday's mission was scheduled to last around 90 minutes, during which time the nine satellites should separate and go into orbit.
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