From Gerhard Billig, ESTRACK station engineer at SMA station this morning:
We just finished tracking the first pass of Ariane 5. Tension increased once we saw the liftoff and knew that in 12 minutes Ariane would be in our visibility. And it was! Acquisition of the signal took place at the expected pointing location and we got the telemetry signals from Ariane straight away! During the pass, the 5.5m antenna performed nicely and we could even see the launcher ourselves simply by looking up! We are now preparing for the 2nd overhead pass in about 1 hour.