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The World : Ariane Rocket Launched

September 16, 1987

Europe's 15-story Ariane rocket blasted off from Kourou, French Guiana, nearly two hours late on the first flight of a Western European rocket since an abortive liftoff 15 months ago. The launch of the Ariane 3, carrying two satellites, was delayed when sensors indicated a possible problem with the loading of liquid hydrogen fuel in the third stage of the rocket. But a spokesman said the problem appeared to have been caused by a faulty sensor and not a malfunctioning fuel system. The third stage, which has caused problems in four of 18 previous Ariane shots, ignited perfectly at four minutes and 36 seconds after liftoff.

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