Vega rocket blasts off with gravity-hunting satellite
BERLIN Dec 3 (Reuters) - A Vega rocket bearing a European prototype satellite which will search for ripples in space and across time, a phenomenon predicted but never proven by physicist Albert Einstein 100 years ago, blasted into space on Thursday morning.
The launch at 0404 GMT lit up the night sky from the launch site in French Guiana before the rocket disappeared into the clouds, the European Space Agency said.
The trailblazing Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, spacecraft will spend about six months testing a technique to detect ripples in space and across time.
The ripples, known as gravitational waves, are caused by massive celestial bodies warping space, similar to a bowling ball rolling across a trampoline.
The LISA Pathfinder mission costs about 400 million euros ($423.72 million).
It was the sixth launch for the four-stage Vega European rocket, which made its debut in 2012.
The launch was delayed from Wednesday to review engineering data about how much heating the rocket's liquid-fuelled fourth-stage would be subjected to during its flight. ($1 = 0.9440 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Additional reporting by Irene Klotz in Capa Canaveral; Editing by Michael Perry)
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