Russia launched early on Saturday a Proton-M rocket carrying a Kazakh and a U.S. communications satellites from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, Russian Space Agency Roscosmos said.
"The Proton-M launch was carried out on schedule at 03.16 am Moscow time [23:16 GMT on Friday," a Roscosmos spokesman said.
The U.S. SES-3 satellite is expected to separate from the launch vehicle at 11.17 am Moscow time (07:17 GMT) while the KazSat-2 satellite will separate at 12.40 am Moscow time (08:40 GMT).
It is the second launch of a Proton carrier rocket in 2011 and the 365th launch in the Proton's flight history.
The Proton-M rockets with the Briz-M boosters are produced by Russia's Khrunichev space corporation.