- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MOSCOW (AP) - A European Space Agency research satellite is on its way into orbit after being launched aboard a Russian rocket.

Officials say the Rokot rocket carrying the GOCE satellite blasted from Russia’s far northern Pletsesk cosmodrome around 5:30 p.m. (1430 GMT) Tuesday.

A day earlier, engineers scrapped the launch just seconds before liftoff due to a problem with the rocket gantry.

The satellite _ formally the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer _ is set to separate from the rocket’s upper Breeze-KM stage around 90 minutes after launch and head into orbit.

ESA officials have watched this launch with some trepidation following the 2005 botched launch of a Russian rocket which sent an ESA ice-mapping satellite crashing into the Arctic Ocean.

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