The European heavy-lift rocket Ariane 5 has been launched from French Guiana to put two satellites in orbit.
The Ariane rocket took off from French Guiana
One of the spacecraft, WildBlue, will provide broadband internet access to rural areas of the US and Canada.
The second, from telecoms company SES Americom, will provide communications to the US and western hemisphere.
The launch, the 30th for the Ariane 5 rocket, was the final one of the year from the European Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
The rocket launched on schedule at 1908 local time (2208 GMT).
The WildBlue satellite was released 27 minutes after take-off, five minutes ahead of the SES American satellite, AMC-18.
The Ariane launch was the 174th mission since the European space consortium, Arianespace, was formed in 1980.