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On Monday 3 July the Ariane 5 launch vehicle for flight VA261 left the final assembly building for roll-out to the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Flight VA261 will carry to space two payloads – the German space agency DLR’s experimental communications satellite Heinrich Hertz and the French communications satellite Syracuse 4b. The flight will be the 117th and final mission for Ariane 5, a series which began in 1996. Flight VA261 will lift off as soon as 5 July at 23:00 BST (6 July at 00:00 CEST), pending suitable conditions for launch.