Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Labor strike delays today's Ariane 5 launch

A labor strike has delayed Today's launch of an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, South America, and Arianespace cannot confirm a possible new launch date.

Countdown clocks stopped around 11:00 a.m. EDT today, nearly two hours before the loading of super cold fuels into the rocket's main stage.

"The Trade Union of French Guiana Workers has just started a strike action within the Telespazio company," Arianespace announced today. "This action will make unavailable means of measurement in the Space Center which are absolutely necessary for (Ariane's) launch planned for Tuesday."

A delay of several days is expected following a teleconference by this aerospace reporter.

Once launched, the Ariane rocket will deliver two communications satellites into geostationary orbit, one for Arabsat and a second for SES North America.

The French Space Agency and Arianespace are working today to have the strikers and Telespazio management return to the bargaining table to end the walkoff.

Based in Rome, Italy, Telespazio handle's the space systems division of Ariane, including the rocket's prelaunch processing.

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