(AP) The European space consortium Arianespace has launched telecommunications and weather observation satellites into orbit from its center in French Guiana.
The satellites were put into orbit during a 34-minute flight on Thursday evening.
The company says one satellite taken aloft by the Ariane 5 rocket was one of the largest telecom satellites ever built for an American private operator, the Maryland-based Hughes Network Systems LLC. It had a liftoff mass of roughly 6,100 kilograms and will deliver broadband services across North America.
The other was a weather satellite that will provide imagery of Europe, the North Atlantic and Africa.
Arianespace has 21 shareholders from 10 European countries, including France's CNES space agency.
Explore further: NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts