Spaceflight Insider

‘Social movement’ continues to delay Ariane 5 launch

Ariane 5 transfer to Final Integration Building

The Ariane 5 is transferred to the Final Integration Building. The vehicle is now awaiting a final roll out to the launch pad pending a resolution to the ongoing “social movement” at the Guiana Space Centre. Photo Credit: Arianespace

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 has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.

Reader Comments

Don’t You Mean an Industrial Strike !?!

March 24, 2017

Hi Neville,
We use the terminology the companies themselves use. SpaceFlight Insider is a professional news outlet and, in the age of social media and blogs, we adhere to the rules of basic journalism.
Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, SpaceFlight Insider

I think we would all love to know more about this “social movement”, rather than just read another rehashing of the company’s statement. Investigative rather than simply basic journalism.

April 14, 2017

Media outlets also have a requirement for “responsible journalism” – meaning we’re not allowed to reword things to provide inaccurate assessments. SpaceFlight Insider has since published several articles on the subject which used terminology appropriate to the situation. These included the words “strike” and “protest.” Initially we couldn’t confirm that there were strikes or protests. Since that time our correspondent in Kourou could verify these were indeed “protests” and “strikes” – allowing us to use that terminology.
Our team is comprised almost entirely of volunteers, some of them students looking to learn about the profession. I think they’d benefit from someone being informed on another concept – basic courtesy. Certainly, dealing with unappreciative readers is something they should get used to. However, SFI provides a free service to the world and a little less criticism for the sake of criticism with such an imperious attitude – would be appreciated. When we’re able to use terms and phrases to describe something, we will. However, that comes only when we can confirm that this is what is happening – and not before.
Jason Rhian – Editor, SpaceFlight Insider

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