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Gravity satellite launch delayed

UK: The launch of a European Space Agency (ESA) gravity mapping satellite, called GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer), has been delayed. Controllers suspended the countdown when the service tower protecting its rocket failed to move clear of the pad and allow a lift-off. The tower is supposed to pull back from the rocket to allow it to launch.

Engineers hope to fix the problem, which should allow another launch attempt to be made. GOCE will give scientists new insights into how the interior of the planet is structured and how the oceans move. Researchers will also use the satellite’s data to frame a universal system to measure height anywhere on Earth.