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Technical glitch delays first Soyuz launch from Europe

The Soyuz rocket at European spaceport in French Guiana. An ESA photo

KOUROU (BNS): The much awaited launch of Russian-made Soyuz rocket from the European spaceport in French Guiana has been delayed.

The three-stage Soyuz ST-B carrier rocket was to launch Europe's first two Galileo global navigation satellites at 1034 GMT Thursday.

This would have been the Russian-built rocket's maiden launch from Europe's Kourou space centre. The mission was to be conducted by Arianespace.

"Following an anomaly detected during fueling of the Soyuz launcher's third stage, the final countdown has been interrupted," the European Space Agency said.

"Soyuz and its two Galileo IOV satellites, along with the launch facility, have been placed in a safe mode," ESA said, adding that a new launch date will be announced later Thursday.

The Galileo spacecraft will be launched to give Europe an independent global navigation system.

The constellation will ultimately comprise of 30 Galileo satellites to provide better coverage and positioning accuracy than the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

The satellites constellation is expected to be deployed in orbit by 2020 to offer improved service for civil and commercial applications.

The programme is funded by the European Commission and developed under contract by the European Space Agency.


Soyuz  Galileo  ESA  

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