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MetOp-A launch delayed indefinitely

Moscow, Russia, 20 July 2006: The third attempt to launch the MetOp satellite on a Soyuz/ST launcher had to be aborted yesterday at only 3 minutes 5 seconds before the scheduled lift-off.

Preliminary investigations established that the cause for the mission abort arose in the Soyuz ground support system in Baikonur. Starsem and its Russian partners therefore decided in agreement with EUMETSAT and ESA to suspend launch operations rather than put the mission at risk.

The launch vehicle and its satellite will now be returned to the launcher integration facility. In parallel, a new operations plan will be developed to determine the new launch date.

The first launch attempt on Monday, 17 July, was aborted due to an incorrect parameter value on the ground system of the launcher. The error was corrected and verified on a reference platform. The second launch attempt on 18 July failed shortly after the fuelling sequence of the launcher was restarted. Unexpected telemetry readings resulting from the partially fuelled configuration led to this second interruption of the launch sequence.