Astérix (satellite)

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Astérix
Asterix Musee du Bourget P1020341.JPG
Replica of Astérix at Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, Paris Le Bourget
Mission type Technology
Operator CNES
Harvard designation 1965-096A
SATCAT № 1778
Mission duration 111 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass 42.0 kilograms (92.6 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 26 November 1965, 09:52 (1965-11-26UTC09:52Z) UTC
Rocket Diamant A
Launch site Hammaguir Brigitte
End of mission
Last contact 28 November 1965 (1965-11-29)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Semi-major axis 7,468.0 kilometres (4,640.4 mi)
Eccentricity 0.08023
Perigee 527 kilometres (327 mi)
Apogee 1,697 kilometres (1,054 mi)
Inclination 34.30 degrees
Period 107.5 minutes
Epoch 1965[vague]

Astérix, the first French satellite, was launched on November 26, 1965 by a Diamant A rocket from Hammaguir, Algeria. With Astérix, France became the sixth country to have an artificial satellite in orbit after: USSR (Sputnik 1, 1957), the USA (Explorer 1, 1958), the United Kingdom (Ariel 1, 1962), Canada (Alouette 1, 1962) and Italy (San Marco 1, 1964), and the third to launch a satellite on its own (the UK, Canada and Italy's satellites were launched on American rockets). The satellite was originally designated A-1, as the French Army's first satellite, but later renamed after the popular French comics character Astérix. Due to the relatively high altitude of its orbit, it is not expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere for several centuries.

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