Blastoff! European Rocket Launches Kazakh Satellite

Image: Vega launch
A European Vega rocket blasts off from the European Space Agency's launch facility in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying a Kazakh Earth observation satellite. JM Guillon / ESA / CNES via AFP - Getty Images

Kazakhstan's first reconnaissance satellite, KazEOSat-1, is orbiting the planet after Tuesday's successful launch from Europe's space center in French Guiana.

The European Arianespace launch consortium used a Vega rocket to loft the French-built satellite into space from the South American spaceport at Kourou.

The 1,830-pound satellite will make Earth observations from an altitude of 435 miles (700 kilometers). Kazakhstan says it will use KazEOSat-1 to monitor natural and agricultural resources, gather mapping data, and provide support for rescue operations.

— Alan Boyle, NBC News