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Replica of Astérix at Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, Paris Le Bourget

Astérix, the first French satellite, was launched on November 26, 1965 by a rocket of type Diamant A from Hammaguir in Algeria. It was originally designated A-1, as the French Army's first satellite, but later renamed after the popular French cartoon character Astérix. Due to the relatively high altitude of its orbit, it is not expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere for several centuries to come. With Astérix, France became the sixth country to have an artificial satellite in orbit, behind the 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) but the third to get the satellite there by itself (The UK, Canada and Italy's satellites were launched by the U.S. agency NASA).

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