Russian Proton rocket launches Express communications satellites in stunning nighttime liftoff (video, photos)

A Proton rocket launched two communications satellites for the Russian government Thursday (July 30) in a dazzling nighttime liftoff.  

The heavy-lift Proton-M rocket equipped with a Breeze-M upper stage launched the Express 80 and Express 103 communications satellites into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Liftoff occurred at 5:25 p.m. EDT (2125 GMT). The local time at the launch site was 2:25 a.m. on Friday (July 31). 

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