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TMCNet:  Ariane 5 ready for year-ending mission

[December 19, 2012]

Ariane 5 ready for year-ending mission

PARIS, Dec 19, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- An Ariane 5 rocket will carry two telecommunications satellite into space on Wednesday from the space center in French Guiana, French satellite launching company Airanespace announced.

"The launch window opens at 6:49 p.m. (2149 GMT) and continues to 8:08 p.m. local time in French Guiana," Airanespace said in a statement.

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

The Skynet system, which includes the radio equipment deployed on ships, on vehicles and in the hands of troops, is Britain's single biggest space project.

The nearly five-tonne Skynet 5D platform will be released first during the mission, followed by Mexsat Bicentenario's separation nine minutes later.

Wednesday's launch of the 211th mission of an Ariane family launcher, and the 67th Ariane 5 launch to date.

Airanespace said it has already 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 space center, also known as Spaceport.

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

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