A Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off Friday night from a tropical spaceport in French Guiana with a commercial communications satellite setting off on a dual mission to demonstrate new space technologies and bridge the Atlantic with data, video and voice relays. Launch occurred at 0103:34 GMT Saturday (8:03:34 p.m. EST Friday).
SpaceX’s first launch since August took off Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A Falcon 9 rocket deployed the first 10 next-generation Iridium communications satellites, part of a $3 billion upgrade to the company’s space network. Liftoff occurred at 9:54 a.m. PST (12:54 p.m. EST; 1754 GMT), and the Falcon 9’s first stage landed on a barge in the Pacific a few minutes later.
A Japanese Epsilon rocket launched Tuesday from the Uchinoura Space Center, a shoreline spaceport on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, with a space weather research probe to study phenomena inside the turbulent Van Allen radiation belts. Liftoff of the 85-foot-tall rocket occurred at 1100 GMT (6 a.m. EST).