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    Subsystem failure delays Ariane 5 launch from Kourou

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    The launch of the Ariane 5 carrier rocket with two satellites from the Kourou space center in French Guiana was delayed during final countdown early on Thursday due to technical problems.

    The launch of the Ariane 5 carrier rocket with two satellites from the Kourou space center in French Guiana was delayed during final countdown early on Thursday due to technical problems.

    "The dual-payload Ariane 5 mission with the Arabsat-5A and COMS satellite passengers was postponed when a launcher subsystem anomaly occurred during the final countdown," the French satellite launch firm Arianespace said in a statement on its website.

    A probe is underway to determine the cause of the failure.

    "The heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA and its two payloads remain in a safe standby mode on the launch pad. A new launch date will be announced as soon as possible," the statement reads.

    Ariane 5 is the only commercial satellite launcher now on the market capable of launching two payloads at the same time.

    The Ariane 5 was to orbit a telecommunications satellite for Saudi-based Arabsat operator and a research satellite for South Korea. The launch was scheduled for 01:41 Moscow time [21:41 GMT].

    The Arabsat-5A satellite was built by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. The spacecraft, with a life span of over 15 years, is designed to provide telecommunications services in Middle East and Northern Africa.

    South Korea's 2,460-kg COMS (the Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite) is fitted with three payloads to carry out meteorological observation, ocean surveillance and experimental broadband multimedia communications services, based on its orbital position. It was built by Astrium on the basis of its Eurostar 3000 platform.

    Arianespace suffered numerous setbacks this year, mainly related to numerous delays of the recent Ariane 5 launch. In addition, the company's income dropped 71.1 million euros (over $90 million), to 1.03 billion euros (over $1.31 billion) last year.

    Thursday's blastoff was due to become the second in 2010, following the German defense ministry satellite's launch earlier this year, which has also been delayed three times.

     

    MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti)

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