Europe delays launch of space station robot freighter

February 15th, 2011 in Astronomy & Space / Space Exploration

A European rocket poised to lift a 20-tonne automated supply ship into space was delayed minutes before scheduled lift off Tuesday, launch operator Arianespace said.

The Ariane 5 mission was to have hoisted the European Space Agency's second toward a rendezvous with the (ISS).

Another attempt will likely be made on Wednesday, Arianespace Chairman Jean-Yves Le Gall said from the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana via an Internet videocast immediately after the aborted lift-off.

"There's a 90-percent chance we'll try again tomorrow," Le Gall later told journalists.

The mission was halted when a red warning light indicated a problem the fueling system.

Designed to supply mankind's nearly 400-tonne outpost in orbit, the Johannes Kepler -- the largest payload ever taken aloft by the ESA -- will bring water, air, food, spare parts and experimental hardware to the ISS.

If successful, the launch will be the 200th in the European programme.

(c) 2011 AFP

"Europe delays launch of space station robot freighter." February 15th, 2011. http://phys.org/news/2011-02-europe-space-station-robot-freighter.html