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Soyuz Rocket Launches Satellites From French Guiana Site

The Russian-made launcher took off from French Guiana on April 4. (file photo)

Arianespace says it has successfully launched a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana carrying four telecommunications and Internet satellites.

The Russian-made launcher took off on April 4 carrying the "innovative" O3b satellites, which will provide Internet connectivity equivalent to "high-speed fiber" and have an expected lifespan of about 10 years, officials said.

Arianespace said the four satellites launched aboard the craft will increase its fleet of O3b satellites to 20. They operate at an altitude of about 8,000 kilometers and serve nearly 50 countries.

Arianespace is a unit of the ArianeGroup, which holds 74 percent of its shares, with the rest held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

In October 2018, a Soyuz rocket carrying a Russian and U.S. astronaut failed minutes after launch, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing. They were unhurt.

A successful manned flight was launched in December with a Russian-U.S.-Canadian crew of three for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS