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The world's fourth space power

From the Hammaguira launch facility in the Sahara Desert of southern Algeria, France successfully launches the Asterix-1 satellite into space with a Diamant-A rocket, becoming the world's fourth space power after the Soviet Union, the United States, and Canada. Asterix-1 weighed 42 kilograms and orbited Earth with an apogee (farthest point from Earth) of 1,697 kilometers and a perigee (nearest point) of 527 kilometers. The Diamant-A and Asterix-1 were constructed by the National Center for the Study of Space (CNES), a French equivalent of NASA established by French President Charles de Gaulle in 1962.