October 27, 2008

GOCE Satellite Launch is Delayed Till 2009

The European Space Agency says the launch of its GOCE Earth Explorer satellite will not take place earlier than February due to a system failure.

The ESA said Russian authorities responsible for the rocket that will carry the GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) satellite into orbit have completed their investigation of a failure in the rocket's upper state guidance and navigation system.

The anomaly was discovered during the spacecraft's launch preparation tests last month at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. The cause of the anomaly has since been identified and reproduced, but the necessary hardware changes will require a minimum of two months of additional work by the manufacturer, the ESA said.

Officials said an exact launch date will be determined after all corrective measures have been fully implemented and validated.