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Photos: Soyuz dashes away from French Guiana launch pad

A Russian Soyuz rocket topped with two European Galileo navigation satellites soared into orbit before dawn Tuesday, vaulting through low clouds hanging over its jungle launch base in French Guiana.

The 46-meter (151-foot-tall) rocket lifted off at 5:48 a.m. French Guiana time (0848 GMT; 4:48 a.m. EDT), adding the 13th and 14th satellites to Europe’s Galileo navigation network.

The photos below show retraction of the Soyuz launch pad’s mobile service gantry amid a heavy rain shower about an hour before liftoff, followed by the rocket’s fiery liftoff from the tropical spaceport.

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Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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Photos: Soyuz dashes away from French Guiana launch pad

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