Arianespace have been forced to delay the launch of two telecommunications satellites on board their Ariane 5-ECA vehicle, due to a problem at the launch pad.
The launch was due to take place on November 10, but was delayed two days after a launch readiness review. A third attempt will take place on Sunday.
The European rocket was set to launch at 23:45 GMT from ESA’s Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
Arianespace are hoping to have their second successful flight of the ECA version of the Ariane 5, following the February launch of two satellites. The ECA’s (European Space Agency) first flight in 2002 ended in disaster after it veered off course and had to be destroyed.
This launch will also be the heaviest payload taken uphill by the Europeans, with the Spaceway 2 and Telkom 2 satellites weighing in at 9 tons.
While Arianespace have not yet announced the specific issue which scrubbed today’s launch attempt, ESA are about to officially set another opportunity for Sunday evening, pointing to today’s issue as minor.
To follow the latest on the Ariane 5-ECA launch attempt, updates can be found here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=727