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NASA's space mapping satellite launch put off

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer will survey the entire sky

WASHINGTON (AFP): NASA has delayed the launch of a space mapping satellite because of problems discovered in a rocket booster steering engine, the US space agency said.

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was supposed to have been launched between 1409 and 1423 GMT Friday, atop a Delta II rocket, but it has been put back to Monday at the same time, the space agency said.

“The first launch attempt scheduled for December 11 was delayed due to an anomaly in the motion of a booster steering engine,” NASA said in a statement.

NASA engineers plan to remove and replace a suspect component in time for the launch on Monday when weather forecasts say there is an 80 per cent chance of acceptable launch conditions, it said.

The WISE satellite is supposed to orbit the Earth at the poles and scan the entire sky one and a half times in nine months.

“The mission will uncover hidden cosmic objects, including the coolest stars, dark asteroids and the most luminous galaxies,” NASA said.

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