x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Launch of Yahsat's first commercial telecoms satellite is delayed

Abnormality in Ariane 5 rocket launcher prevented boosters from igniting, space centre executive says.

French Ariane rocket stands at the Arianespace launch site on March 30, 2011 in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch of the Ariane rocket carrying the Yahsat Y1A for Al Yah Satellite Communications Company of the United Arab Emirates, and Intelsat New Dawn for New Dawn Satellite Company, was aborted because of a technical hitch at the scheduled moment of liftoff.
French Ariane rocket stands at the Arianespace launch site on March 30, 2011 in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch of the Ariane rocket carrying the Yahsat Y1A for Al Yah Satellite Communications Company of the United Arab Emirates, and Intelsat New Dawn for New Dawn Satellite Company, was aborted because of a technical hitch at the scheduled moment of liftoff.

ABU DHABI // The launch of Yahsat's first commercial telecommunications satellite has been aborted in the final seconds of countdown because of technical issues.

The Y1A satellite was scheduled to lift off today at 3am UAE time from French Guiana aboard a European Space Agency Ariane 5 ECA rocket. A new launch date has not been announced.

An abnormality was detected on the rocket launcher that prevented the boosters to ignite, said Jean-Yves Le Gall, the Arianespace centre chief executive. The cause of the malfunction was unknown, he said. The rocket will be rolled back to the spaceport’s final assembly building for further examination.

“We do not take any risks and therefore it is very important we determine the causes,” he said in a release on the Arianespace website.

Yahsat officials had said there was only a 15 per cent chance that the launch would take place on schedule and that they were prepared for delays.

Before the mission was aborted the rocket and its boosters were filled with 130 tonnes of liquid oxygen and 25 tonnes of hydrogen to help push the missile into its planned orbit almost 36,000 kilometers above the equator.

The rocket is also carrying the Intelsat New Dawn telecommunications satellite, owned by South Africa’s New Dawn Satellite Company. Yahsat, or Al Yah Satellite Communications Co, is owned by Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company controlled by the Abu Dhabi Government.

econroy@thenational.ae