Europe's heavy-lift Ariane 5-ECA rocket has put three satellites in orbit.
The Ariane rocket took off from French Guiana
Two of the satellites will transmit TV services to America and Australia. The third is a test platform for the Japanese space agency (Jaxa).
The flight from Kourou in French Guiana was the fourth mission of the year for the Ariane 5, which is operated by the Paris-based Arianespace company.
The ECA has the power to push payloads of 10 tonnes towards a geostationary orbit, 36,000km above the Earth.
The total payload at lift-off for this flight was just short of the maximum for the 50m-long rocket.
The DIRECTV 9S satellite, for the US operator DIRECTV Incorporated, was the heaviest item at 5.5 tonnes; the OPTUS D1 spacecraft, for the Australian operator OPTUS, was 2.3 tonnes at launch; and the Japanese LDREX-2 experimental reflector had a lift-off mass of 211kg.
The latter was mounted to the base of the Ariane 5's payload "stack" and was a scale-model intended to test the design of a large deployable antenna that will be flown on a future Jaxa mission.
The ECA left Kourou at 1756 local time (2056 GMT).