Bad weather puts ESA satellite launch on hold

21 Aug 2014

Cutaway view of the Soyuz rocket fairing carrying the first full operational capability satellites. Image via ESA-J. Huart, 2014

The next satellites in Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system won’t be blasting off from the Guiana Space Centre today after all, as a result of bad weather.

Commercial space transportation company Arianespace has decided to put off the launch of Soyuz flight VS09 carrying Europe’s fifth and sixth Galileo satellites. Liftoff had been scheduled for 1.31pm Irish time today.

A new launch date depends on how the weather unfolds in Kourou, French Guiana, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

The two satellites, SAT 5 and SAT 6, will join four others already in orbit in the Galileo network. The two satellites will also will eventually form part of a group of 27 satellites and three reserves.

The goal of the Galileo network is to provide an alternative to global navigation systems, such as GPS.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic