Western European rocket undergoes new test firing

Western Europe's Ariane space rocket will be test-fired for the third time today (June 19) at the Kourou launching pad in French Guiana after one successful firing and one failure since December 1979. The three-stage rocket will be carrying two satellites, a European weather satellite called Meteosat and the Indian Apple telecommunications satellite. It will be the third of four test flights before Ariane becomes fully operational, if successful, sometime next year. The aim of the project, designed by the European Space Agency, is to give its 11 participating nations the capacity to put telecommunications satellites into orbit, making them less de pendent on the United States.

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