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article imageDelayed European rocket launch to go ahead after strike

By AFP     Mar 20, 2017 in World

The planned launch Tuesday of a European Ariane 5 rocket to place two communications satellites into orbit has been delayed due to striking workers in French Guiana, the French launch company Arianespace said.

The transfer of the rocket to its launch pad had already been postponed on Monday after striking workers erected a barricade of tyres and wooden pallets at the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America.

"Continuation of the social movement in French Guiana has prevented the transfer of Ariane 5 to the launch zone today," Arianespace said in a statement Tuesday.

"If the situation permits, the new launch date for Flight VA236 is (now) scheduled on Thursday," the statement said.

The rocket is set to place into orbit communications satellites for Brazil and South Korea.

One satellite, called SGDC, will provide strategic communications for the Brazilian government and military services, and beam broadband services across the country, helping to provide internet access to remote and underserved communities.

The other, KOREASAT-7 owned by South Korea's KTsat, will provide a range of video and data services over Korea, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, India and Indonesia.

The postponed launch has been scheduled for Thursday, between 1731 and 2020 local time (2031 and 2320 GMT), the Arianespace statement said.

The strike has been organised mainly by workers for public energy company EDF Guyane and staff at the Kourou hospital, according to the local trade union.

The strikers are demanding better career development prospects and the extension of the electricity grid.

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