An Ariane 5 rocket carrying two telecommunication satellites launched from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana on Thursday, an Internet broadcast by European operator Arianespace showed.
The fourth Ariane 5 launch this year, and the 208th overall, began at 5:54 pm (2054 GMT).
It will eventually place into orbit two geostationary telecommunication satellites -- Intelsat-20 for international satellite operator Intelsat, and HYLAS 2 for European operator Avanti Communications.
Intelsat-20, which weighs more than six tonnes, will provide a large number of telecommunication, video, telephone and data transmission services in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Asia. The powerful satellite will replace Intelsat-7 and Intelsat-10, and has an expected life span of 24 years.
HYLAS 2 is the second satellite of new European operator Avanti Communications. The 3.3-tonne satellite is to provide broadband services for eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East for more than 15 years.
Explore further: SpaceX picks up launch pace, sets April 27 commercial launch and May 5 Dragon pad abort test