The last two scheduled satellite launches of 2012 are complete.

A Soyuz launch vehicle has successfully orbited a capsule containing three astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Soyuz lifted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 19 December, ferrying crew to the ISS. Liftoff and orbital insertion went according to plan, says Russian space agency Roscosmos, and the capsule is expected to dock on 21 December.

Later on 19 December an Ariane V lofted two communications satellites from Kourou, French Guiana. Skynet 5D, a communications satellite run by a private company on behalf of the UK military. Skynet 5D is the fourth satellite in the Skynet 5 constellation. A co-payload, Mexsat 3, was flown for the Mexican government. While contact with the satellites has not been confirmed as of press time, footage of the launch indicate a successful outcome.

Several rockets are scheduled to fly in January, launching several military, commercial and scientific satellites.

Source: Flight International