There was a launch last month of Arianspace's Arian 5 from France's spaceport in French Guiana.
The Administrator of NASA - our guy Michael Griffin - was there and is quoted as saying the huge (20 stories tall) Ariane 5 is "probably the best in the world, very smooth and very impressive." ArianeSpace has "powered past" Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Tellingly, our guys "scoffed" at some of ArianeSpace's technology until they saw it work.
That clicked with another story out today (6.26.07) about China taking a big step toward finishing the "longest sea bridge in the world." It's over 22 miles long and also has " the longest cable-stayed structure of its kind" as the center piece.