Spaceflight Insider

High upper-level winds delay Ariane 5 launch

Ariane 5 Rollout

File Photo Credit: Arianespace

The launch of an Ariane 5 rocket with two U.S.-built communications satellites was scrubbed today, June 17, because of unfavorable upper-level winds. This comes after a 24-hour delay due to a problem with an umbilical connection.

“The weather is maybe the only thing we do not master, but we have to live with it,” said Stephane Israel, CEO of Arianespace, in a statement after the scrub.

Liftoff was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT (20:30 GMT) at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, but because the weather was not acceptable for launch, the countdown was held at the T-minus seven minute mark for an hour into the 70-minute launch window. At 5:30 p.m. EDT (21:30 GMT), the flight was officially called off.

The Arianespace team will try again tomorrow at the same time—also in a 70-minute window.

The Ariane 5 was originally scheduled to blast off last week, but launch teams had opted to delay the mission because of a problem with a cryogenic fluid connector.

When it does launch, the Ariane 5 will take EchoStar 18 and BRIsat to a geostationary transfer orbit. They will be operated by DISH Network and Indonesian-based Bank Rakyat Indonesia, respectively. Both satellites were built Space Systems Loral, a California-based company.


Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.

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