Expected to reach its destiny today, GOCE, ESA’s mission to map our planet’s gravity field in unprecedented detail, saw its countdown stopped only seven seconds before launch.
Behind this decision was the fact of the doors of the launch service tower did not open, helding in position and not moving back.
Investigations are under way, and Mark Drinkwater, GOCE Mission Scientist, informed Beyond the Cradle of the following:
All information indicates we try again tomorrow at the same time.
It is a simple case of an issue with the launch tower, and so countdown was stopped.
The satellite is safe and is ready to try again tomorrow, provided that go ahead is confirmed later this evening.
GOCE is the first of a series of ESA’s Earth Explorer satellites in orbit, designed to provide information for understanding climate change as well as other critical Earth system variables.
For more information about the mission and updates concerning the launch visit GOCE’s site.
EDITED: Launch is now scheduled for tomorrow, March 17, at 14:21 UTC.
Image credit: ESA – AOES Medialab