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France delays launch of spy satellite from Ariane rocket

Video by Elena CASAS

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-09

France has delayed the launch of a military spy satellite into space from the European Space Agency base in French Guiana due to a technical glitch.

REUTERS - A technical problem has delayed the launch of a French spy satellite from French Guiana which had been scheduled for Wednesday, the head of the launch company said.

Arianespace President Jean-Yves Le Gall told reporters that problems detected during the night forced the countdown to be stopped.

"We have an anomaly in a helium pressure system valve. That will have to be replaced and inspected," Le Gall said.

He said corrective measures would take at least several days before a new launch could be attempted.

The Ariane-5 rocket was slated to launch the Helios 2 B satellite, developed to help France prepare missions and assess threats worldwide, as well as drawing up maps of uncharted zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chad and the neighbouring Sudanese region of Darfur.

It is an integral element in France's military intelligence arsenal, French defence officials said.
 

Date created : 2009-12-09

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