Spaceflight Insider

Arianespace delays launch of Ariane 5 Flight VA236 due to ‘social movement’

Ariane 5 in the BAF ready for transfer to the launch pad

Archive photo of an Ariane 5 in the BAF ready for transfer to the launch pad. Photo Credit: Stephane Corvaja / ESA

Arianespace has announced a 24-hour delay, at least, of Flight VA236 due to a “social movement” at The Spaceport in French Guiana. It is not entirely clear what constitutes a “social movement”, though there are reports that indicate the workers who are responsible for the rollout of the vehicle to the ELA-3 launch site called for a strike.

If, indeed, there is a labor issue, it would not be the first time the commercial launch provider has been the target of a work stoppage. In 2011, Arianespace had to delay an Ariane 5 launch due to a strike within a different organization at the launch site, resulting in a 24-hour setback to the liftoff.

The launch vehicle and its pair of communications satellites remain secure in the Final Assembly Building (BAF) at The Spaceport, with rollout to the pad tentatively delayed by 24 hours.

Encapsulated in the Ariane’s protective fairing are the SGDC and KOREASAT-7 telecommunications satellites. Once launched, they will each serve the communications and entertainment needs of people on opposite sides of the globe, as well as providing secure governmental data needs.

From Arianespace

The release from Arianespace:

Due to a social movement, it was not possible to carry out today’s scheduled transfer of the launch vehicle from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building (BAF) to the launch zone.

As a result, Arianespace has decided to postpone the transfer by 24 hours, with operations resuming tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, if the situation permits.

The launch vehicle, as well as its SGDC and KOREASAT-7 satellite payloads, have been placed in a stand-by mode and are being maintained in fully safe conditions.

Arianespace Flight VA236 – which is scheduled to launch SGDC for Telebras S.A., performed within the framework of a contract with SGDC prime contractor VISIONA Tecnologia Espacial S.A.; and KOREASAT-7 for ktsat – is now scheduled for:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 as early as possible within the following launch window:

  • Between 4:31 p.m. and 7:20 p.m., Washington D.C. time
  • Between 5:31 p.m. and 8:20 p.m., Kourou time in French Guiana
  • Between 5:31 p.m. and 8:20 p.m., Brasilia time
  • Between 20:31 and 23:20, Universal Time (UTC)
  • Between 21:31 p.m. and 00:20 p.m., Paris time during the night of March 22 to 23
  • Between 5:31 a.m. and 8:20 a.m., Seoul Time, South Korea, on March 23



Curt Godwin has been a fan of space exploration for as long as he can remember, keeping his eyes to the skies from an early age. Initially majoring in Nuclear Engineering, Curt later decided that computers would be a more interesting - and safer - career field. He's worked in education technology for more than 20 years, and has been published in industry and peer journals, and is a respected authority on wireless network engineering. Throughout this period of his life, he maintained his love for all things space and has written about his experiences at a variety of NASA events, both on his personal blog and as a freelance media representative.

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