Don't miss




France 24 meets George Weah ahead of inauguration

Read more


Gymnast's fierce courtroom address

Read more


A whole new world: Trump anniversary special

Read more

#TECH 24

Will artificial intelligence ever surpass the human brain?

Read more


Aiding migrants in France: What are the legal implications?

Read more


The challenge of clearing Colombia of landmines

Read more


Video: Gambians reflect on first year of democracy

Read more


Pitti Uomo in Florence, the world's largest men's fashion showcase

Read more


Award-winning Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza on keeping it real

Read more

European satellite launch not likely before next February

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-24

The much-delayed launch of the European satellite GOCE is now not likely before February 2009, the European Space Agency has said. Additional work is needed to the satellite's launcher due to technical problems.

The much-delayed launch of a European satellite designed to monitor Earth's gravitational field is unlikely to take place before February, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday.

The Gravity field and state-steady Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, should have been launched on September 10 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Moscow.

The operation has been postponed several times, after a problem was identified in the guidance and navigation subsystem in the launcher's upper stage, called the Breeze KM.

"The necessary hardware changes will require a minimum of two months of additional work by the manufacturer," ESA said in a press release here.

"As a consequence, the launch of GOCE cannot take place earlier than February 2009; however, the exact launch date will only be decided at a later stage once the corrective measures have been fully implemented and validated."

GOCE is part of ESA's "Earth Explorer" programme, initiated in 1999, to deepen understanding about some of the fundamentals of the planet -- its atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and interior.

The satellite's launcher is a Rockot, a derivative of a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile operated by a joint venture between EADS Astrium and the Khrunichev Space Centre.

Date created : 2008-10-24