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 United States (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.[citation needed]

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