Launch of European weather satellite delayed

19th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 July 2006, DARMSTADT, GERMANY - A new attempt to launch Europe's first polar-orbiting weather satellite was postponed Tuesday after problems with the Soyuz carrier rocket's propulsion system.

19 July 2006

DARMSTADT, GERMANY - A new attempt to launch Europe's first polar-orbiting weather satellite was postponed Tuesday after problems with the Soyuz carrier rocket's propulsion system.

It was the second delay within 24 hours after an attempt on Monday was aborted 90 minutes before blast-off from the because of a problem with equipment that monitors the rocket's navigation system.

Scientists at the European Space Agency's Space Operations Centre said another launch attempt at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan could not be made until 5:28 p.m. Wednesday at the earliest.

The four-ton MetOp-A satellite is equipped with 11 scientific instruments to scan the earth's atmosphere, land and oceans as part of a programme to improve weather forecasting.

The observation satellite is the first of three planned to fly in roughly the same orbit at an altitude of 817 kilometres, collecting high resolution data from the earth.

MetOp-A is due to relay its first data back to earth in January 2007. Scientists hope the information will enable them to provide early warning of natural disasters. The project is a joint venture between the ESA and Eumetsat, the organization that operates Europe's system of meteorological satellites.

The new satellite system will complement the date provided by existing European weather satellites and those operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

DPA

Subject: German news

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