Arianespace has conducted its 49th consecutive successful launch of an Ariane 4. The Lockheed Martin-built GE-4 communications satellite was launched at only three months' notice by the European launch company on an Ariane 44LP on flight V123 on 13 November.

Arianespace, meanwhile, has scheduled the first fully commercial Ariane 5 launch for 10 December, carrying the European Space Agency's X-ray MultiMirror telescope.

Two more Ariane 4 launches are planned before year-end, bringing to eight the number of missions flown since August. This will help make up for a launch hiatus earlier in the year caused by satellite delivery delays.

Source: Flight International