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Live coverage: Soyuz blasts off on third mission for O3b

Four satellites tucked inside the tip of a Soyuz rocket lifted off Thursday, heading for a 5,000-mile-high orbit to expand the reach of O3b's broadband communications network. Liftoff from the European-run spaceport in French Guiana occurred at 1:37 p.m. EST (1837 GMT).

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  • orionkscsign
    Completing a 2,700-mile journey across the United States, America's inaugural Orion spaceship arrived back home at the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, just under two weeks after its trial by fire.
  • Credit: ULA
    Take another look back at the Orion spaceship's launch atop a Delta 4-Heavy rocket on Dec. 5 with this gallery of NASA and United Launch Alliance photos.
  • gslv-mkiii-x17
    A powerful new Indian launcher and a precursor to a future piloted space capsule flew to the edge of space on a 20-minute test mission Thursday. See photos of the rocket's liftoff and the landing craft after splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.
  • gps
    The fourth modernized Global Positioning System satellite launched this year has completed in-orbit testing and joined the constellation.
  • orbcomm_f9_in_hanger_0
    Blaming a technical glitch encountered during a preflight test, officials said Thursday the launch of SpaceX's next Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station has been delayed to early January.
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.37.18 PM
    Four satellites tucked inside the tip of a Soyuz rocket lifted off Thursday, heading for a 5,000-mile-high orbit to expand the reach of O3b's broadband communications network. Liftoff from the European-run spaceport in French Guiana occurred at 1:37 p.m. EST (1837 GMT).
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 11.01.52 PM
    India's aspiration to launch all of its own satellites -- and eventually astronauts -- into space got a boost Thursday with a successful test flight of a powerful new rocket and a prototype landing capsule designed for the country's human spaceflight program.
  • Artist_s_view_of_Venus_Express_over_atmospheric_storms
    The European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft has run out of fuel and will burn up in the atmosphere of Venus in January after a successful eight-year mission.
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 2.57.49 AM
    India's all-new GSLV Mk. 3 launcher blasted off for the first time at 0400 GMT Thursday (11 p.m. EST Wednesday) on a suborbital test flight to demonstrate a new twin-engine core stage, two powerful solid rocket boosters and a prototype capsule designed for India's planned human space program.
  • File photo of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad before a previous flight. Credit: SpaceX
    Officials will likely set a new launch date Thursday for a SpaceX-owned commercial cargo craft that was expected to take off Friday heading for the International Space Station, according to sources familiar with launch preparations.