Plank and Herschel Launch delayed at least a week

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MeteorWayne

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From Spaceflight Now:

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/ariane/v1 ... delay.html

Engineering double checks put off next Ariane launch
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: April 2, 2009

The launch of two European astronomical observatories will slip until May because engineers need extra time to make sure the $1.3 billion Herschel telescope can survive the extreme mechanical pressures of blastoff, officials said Thursday.

The checks will delay launch at least one week from the flight's previous target of April 29 or 30.

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Earlier reviews last year verified Herschel's readiness for launch, but engineers wanted one more look at the data before committing to launch, Passvogel said.

"It is very susceptible to mechanical loading because it is so big," Passvogel said. "You can think about it as a big bell. If you excite it, it starts ringing."

Herschel and Planck will be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the European-controlled spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.


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