Russian Soyuz rocket blasts off from spaceport in French Guiana

A Russian-made Soyuz rocket was successfully launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, on Friday. The rocket carries four O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) communication satellites, operated by the SES Networks. The Soyuz craft is also fitted with another Russian-made module – Fregat-MT upper stage – which is expected to put the satellites into their designated orbits. The Soyuz launch vehicles have been used at the Kourou spaceport since 2011, where Russian Glavcosmos and French Arianespace work in cooperation. Friday’s launch was the eighteenth launch of the Soyuz family of rockets from the space center, and the fourth time it has carried the O3b satellites.