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Unfavourable weather delays final Ariane 5 launch
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Unfavourable weather delays final Ariane 5 launch
by AFP Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 4, 2023

The farewell flight of Europe's workhorse Ariane 5 rocket, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed for 24 hours due to bad weather, operator Arianespace said.

The 117th and final flight of an Ariane 5 rocket, after 27 years of launches, had been due to take off between 2130 and 2305 GMT from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

"Due to unfavourable winds at high altitude above the Guiana Space Centre, Arianespace decided not to start the final phase of the launch preparation operations," the French firm said.

The nearest launch window was now between 2200 and 2305 GMT on Wednesday "if weather conditions are favourable", it added.

The final flight of an Ariane, whose launches have punctuated life in Kourou for nearly three decades, was originally scheduled for June 16.

It was postponed the day before because of problems with pyrotechnical lines in the rocket's booster. The lines have since been replaced.

The final payload on an Ariane 5 is a French military communications satellite and a German communications satellite.

The arrival in 1996 of the Ariane 5, which was able to carry a far bigger load than its predecessor Ariane 4, allowed Europe to establish itself in the communication satellite market.

It was due to be replaced by the Ariane 6 in 2020 but delays to that next-generation rocket have left Europe without a way to independently launch heavy-load missions into space.

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