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Data glitch halts satellite launch

Ariane 5 back to the shed for repairs

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The launch of the Telesat Anik F2 satellite has been postponed, apparently due to an anomalous data check. Arianespace has not yet announced a new launch date. The satellite was to provide Broadband connectivity to much of the North American continent, including distance learning and e-health services.

It was due to take off from French Guiana this morning on the Ariane 5 rocket launcher. A statement on Arianespace's website says that the anomaly was detected during the final stages of the countdown operation. The launcher will now be moved back into its Final Assembly Building for repairs.

Ariane 5 has been dogged by reliability questions ever since a launch in late 2002 resulted in the rocket self-destructing four minutes into the flight.

The rocket successfully lifted the ESA's Rosetta mission into space earlier this year, but only after a series of aborted launches. The Rosetta mission will arrive at its target - Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - in 2014. ®

Update

Following completion of repairs, the rocket is now scheduled to take off in a launch window from 00:43 to 01:29GMT on Friday, July 16

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