ESA's MetOp launch again aborted

October 18, 2006

The launch of the European Space Agency's MetOp satellite was postponed Wednesday for the fifth time with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left in the countdown.

ESA officials said the latest abort was caused by the presence of strong winds at high altitude, as confirmed by a weather probe.

The next launch attempt was scheduled for 12:28 p.m. EDT Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The ESA said Tuesday's launch was aborted when a system "anomaly" was reported just two seconds before liftoff.

MetOp -- the Meteorological Operational Satellite -- is to become Europe's first polar-orbiting weather satellite.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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