• The second Russian-built Soyuz rocket launched from French Guiana blasted  carrying six military spy satellites.

  •  About one hour after launch, five of the satellites separated from the rocket.

  • The first was Pleiades, a one-tonne observation satellite to be used extensively by the French defense ministry.

  • Several minutes later, the rocket released four ELISA (Electronic Intelligence by Satellite) demonstrator satellites to test space-based mapping of radar transmitters globally for France's Defense Procurement Agency (DGA).

  • A sixth satellite, for Chile's armed forces, is scheduled for separation.

  • This was the second time that a Soyuz, which first flew in 1966 and traces its roots back even further to the earliest Cold War intercontinental ballistic missiles, was launched from outside its former Soviet bases.

  • The first French Guiana-launched Soyuz rocket orbited the first two of Europe's Galileo global positioning satellite constellation last October.