INTRODUCTION In the United States a European GEOS scientific satellite has gone into a wrong orbit after being launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday (20 April).
GV Gantry moving away from rocket, Cape Canaveral, USA
CU "GEOS-ESA" sign on rocket
LV & CU PAN Rocket prior to launch
LV Rocket fires and lifts off (NATSOF TO END)
LV Rocket and trail
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Background: INTRODUCTION In the United States a European GEOS scientific satellite has gone into a wrong orbit after being launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday (20 April).
SYNOPSIS: The satellite was launched aboard an American Delta rocket which apparently malfunctioned shortly after lift-off. Work on the satellite by ten European countries was coordinated by the European Space Agency, and it is designed to study ways in which the earth is protected from the sun's rays by its magnetic field. It was planned to put the satellite into an orbit that matched the earth's speed, keeping it virtually stationary over the Atlantic Ocean.
The initial launch was successful but the rocket's second stage separated prematurely from the third, putting the satellite into the wrong orbit. European Space Agency scientists are to meet on Tuesday (26 April) to try and salvage the operation. GEOS was to be a reference satellite in a three year research programme in which 30 countries are taking part. European Space Agency scientists say that if the satellite cannot be guided into an orbit where information it gathers can be retrieved then the mission will have failed at a cost of about 51 and a half million pounds Sterling (90 million dollars U.S.).
The GEOS is said to be the most advanced satellite so far produced in Europe.