February 15, 2011 / 11:18 PM / 9 years ago

Delay hits Ariane launch to supply space station

The modified Ariane launcher is transferred to the launch zone at Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana February 14, 2011. REUTERS/Stephane Corvaja/ESA/Handout

KOUROU, French Guiana (Reuters) - A technical problem has delayed for at least 24 hours the scheduled launch Tuesday of an Ariane rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), space officials said.

“During final countdown one of the authorization parameters went red,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the Arianespace rocket launch company said.

“From what I was told there was erroneous data coming from a fuelling system.”

The modified Ariane-5 rocket had been scheduled to blast off from the European Space Agency’s launch center in Kourou, French Guiana, on the northeast of South America, at 7.13 p.m. local time (2213 GMT).

Aboard the rocket was the 20-tonne Johannes Kepler automatic transfer vehicle (ATV) that is designed to deliver supplies to the ISS after an eight-day flight.

The holdup will have a knock-on effect, delaying the planned February 24 launch of the American space shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The ATV must be docked with the space station before the shuttle can be launched.

Additional reporting by Alexander Miles; editing by Andrew Roche

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