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CHEOPS launch postponed

Liftoff is currently scheduled for Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 9:54:20 CET.  

On Tuesday morning, 1 hour 25 minutes before liftoff during final countdown operations, the Soyuz-Fregat launcher’s automated sequence was interrupted. The rocket with the CHEOPS space telescope on board should have taken off from ESA’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 17.12.2019 shortly before 10 a.m. CET. A software error in the Fregat upper stage led to an aborted take-off. The launcher and its satellite payloads were placed in a fully safe standby mode.

The launch pad in Kourou. (Photo: Michael Weinmann)

“It happens very often that a launch is postponed”, said Luigi Colangeli, Head of ESA’s Science Coordination Office at an event organized by the University of Bern for the launch of the mission.

Arianespace reported on Tuesday evening that replacement operations are underway for the faulty equipment of the Soyuz rocket that was affected by an outage. A new technical review before fueling of the launch vehicle will occur five hours prior to liftoff. More information: Arianespace.

Impressions and speakers of the event at the University of Bern

Peter Wurz, Head of Space Research and Planetology at the University of Bern hosted the event. (Photo Universität Bern/Vera Knöpfel)

Many people interested in space research joined the event at the University of Bern. (Photo Universität Bern/Vera Knöpfel)

Thomas Beck, System Engineer CHEOPS at the University of Bern, talked about the many tests the space telescope had to pass. (Photo Universität Bern/Vera Knöpfel)

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