Ariane 5 mission ready for liftoff
December 19, 2012 08.46 Europe/London By Robert Briel

WATCH LAUNCH VIDEO LIVE. The final Ariane 5 mission of 2012 is ready for its December 19 liftoff.

Carrying the Skynet 5D secure military relay platform and Mexsat Bicentenario telecommunications satellite, the mission will bring a busy 12 months to a close.

Arianespace already has performed six heavy-lift Ariane 5 flights and two medium-lift Soyuz launches from French Guiana, along with its support for the lightweight Vega’s debut at the Spaceport.

In addition, the company’s Starsem affiliate launched one Soyuz from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

For Arianespace’s year-ending mission, its Ariane 5 rolled out from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to Ariane launch complex No. 3, where it is scheduled for a December 19 liftoff. The launch window opens at 6:49 p.m. and continues to 8:08 p.m., local time in French Guiana.

Skynet 5D will be released first during the mission, deployed at 27 minutes after liftoff from the upper passenger position in Ariane 5’s payload “stack.” It will be followed by Mexsat Bicentenario’s separation nine minutes later.

This is the 211th mission of an Ariane family launcher, and will be the 67th Ariane 5 launch to date. The flight’s total payload lift performance is an estimated 8,635 kg., which includes approximately 7,735 kg. for the two satellite passengers.