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Wed, Dec 19, 2012

Arianespace's Year-Ending Flight Is Cleared For Its December 19 Liftoff

Ariane Flight VA211 Will Launch Satellites For The Mexican Government

Arianespace’s seventh and final Ariane 5 launch of 2012 is "go" for liftoff following a successful launch readiness review performed at the Spaceport in French Guiana. The review is held prior to each Ariane 5 mission, ensuring that the heavy-lift launch vehicle and its payload are flight-ready, along with the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.

This approval cleared the way for Ariane 5’s rollout from the Final Assembly Building to Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 at the Spaceport – positioning it for liftoff on Wednesday, December 19 during a launch window that opens at 1849 and continues to 2008 local time in French Guiana.
 
This flight will orbit a dual-passenger payload of the Mexsat Bicentenario telecommunications satellite for the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transport, along with the Skynet 5D secure military communications relay platform for the European operator Astrium Services, on behalf of the British Ministry of Defence.
 
Skynet 5D was built by Astrium Satellites of Stevenage, England, and will be the 38th military payload lofted by the Ariane launcher family.  Based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, it has an expected lifetime of 15 years and will be the 89th Astrium satellite launched by Arianespace. The spacecraft will be operated from a geostationary orbital position of 25 deg. East following its deployment.
 
Mexsat Bicentenario was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, based on its GEOStar-2 platform. This will be the fifth Mexican satellite launched by Ariane and the 23rd Orbital-built satellite to be transported by Arianespace. The spacecraft has a design lifetime of 16 years.  It will be positioned in geostationary orbit at 114.9 deg. West to provide communication services to Mexico and its surrounding waters.
 
This year-ending Ariane 5 mission is designated VA211 in Arianespace’s flight numbering system, signifying the 211th Ariane family liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

(File photo of Ariane 5 on launch pad)

FMI: www.arianespace.com

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