Strike delays Ariane-5 launch: official

September 20, 2011
A picture taken on September 19, and released by ARIANESPACE shows the Ariane-5 at the European space centre at Kourou, French Guiana. A strike at the Kourou space centre in French Guiana on Tuesday forced authorities to postpone an Ariane-5 rocket launch, the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) said.

A strike at the Kourou space centre in French Guiana on Tuesday forced authorities to postpone an Ariane-5 rocket launch, the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) said.

The main reason for the delay to the launch that would have put two into orbit is a launched by Telezpazio, a business at the base specialised in radars, CNES said.

The launch would have been Arianespace's fifth this year, and was to put two television satellites into orbit: Arabsat 5C covering the Middle East and North Africa and SES-2 covering North America and the Caribbean.

"The business works on radars which are of course a sensitive issue during launch periods. And the means are not available. That's why the launch has been delayed," a CNES spokesman said, asking not to be named.

The Telezpazio strike began Tuesday, the day after another base business, Cegelec Space, went on strike following a call by the Force Ouvriere (FO) union and the Union of Guianese Workers (UTG)

The unions want a pay rise and a bonus for working Sundays, FO's Jean Pustay told AFP.

"Talks are underway with the management but they're not moving forward very quickly," Pustay said.

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