Ariane 5 rocket launch postponed

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

The launch of the Ariane 5 ECA rocket has been postponed due to a technical hitch. The rocket, which has a record payload of 10,000 kg, was due to launch in the 45 minute window opening at 4.35PM (23:45 GMT) on November 12th, 2005 from a base at Kourou, French Guiana. Officials have not yet given a new date for launch.

The rocket is the ECA version of the Ariane 5 rocket, which has been modified to enable it to carry a heavier payload. This rocket is carrying the Spaceway 2 for customer DIRECTV and Telkom 2 for customer PT Telkom Indonesia, both telecommunications satellites to be released into a geosynchronous orbit.

The maiden flight of the Ariane 5 ECA ended in disaster in 2002 when the rocket veered off course over the Atlantic Ocean and self-destructed, dumping two satellites worth 600 million euros into the sea. A second flight successfully launched in February, 2005, releasing two satellites into orbit. This will be the rocket's third flight.

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