Launch of ASTRA 3B satellite postponed

Arianespace has announced that the launch of the new Astra 3B satellite has been postponed due to an anomaly that occurred in a launcher subsystem. A new launch date will be announced in due time.

Launch team members have removed the component that caused the launch postponement - a pressure regulator for Ariane 5's main stage - which has been sent to Europe for inspection by a task force. This comprehensive task force team involves representatives from ASTRA, Arianespace, ESA, CNES, EADS Astrium, and associated technical partners.

The Ariane 5 and its dual-passenger payload of the Astra 3B and COMSATBw-2 satellites are in a safe condition in the Final Assembly Building, where both the launcher and satellites are being monitored in their standby mode.

“Arianespace remains committed to the highest levels of launch vehicle quality for our customers, who have come to expect this from us,” explained Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall. “Our focus now is on resolving the anomaly that postponed Flight 194, as well as ensuring that the ‘lessons learned’ are taken into account.”

Reports from French Guiana say that the launch of ASTRA 3B will not be reinstated much before mid-May.