‘Social movement’ continues to delay Ariane 5 launch
Arianespace has delayed the flight of its Ariane 5 rocket for a third day in a row due to a “social movement” at the Guiana Space Centre. The company has not set a new launch date. The mission, dubbed VA236, is set to send two communications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.
The work stoppage prevented the rollout of the Ariane 5 rocket to the ELA-3 launch site, which was originally scheduled for Monday, March 20, 2017, in advance of a March 21 launch. According to Spaceflight Now, officials blamed postponement on a strike among a segment of the workforce at the space center.
“The launch vehicle, with its SGDC and Koreasat-7 satellite payloads, remain in a stand-by mode and are being maintained in fully safe conditions,” a March 23 statement from Arianespace reads.
The rocket and encapsulated communications satellites are currently inside the Final Assembly Building at the spaceport. Once launched, they will serve customers on opposite sides of the planet.
SGDC will reside at geostationary orbit above the equator at 75 degrees West longitude over South America, while Koreasat-7 will hover over 116 degrees East longitude to serve South Korea.
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.