Satellite launch shelved over strikes

2017-03-23 20:32
An Arianespace satellite launched from French Guiana  (File, AFP)

An Arianespace satellite launched from French Guiana (File, AFP)

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Paris - After three days of delays caused by worker strikes in French Guiana, rocket firm Arianespace opted on Thursday to postpone indefinitely the launch of satellites for South Korean and Brazilian clients.

At first scheduled for Tuesday, then the two following days, launch operators finally gave up and announced on Thursday that the Ariane 5 rocket will remain grounded until further notice.

The launch will not be rescheduled "until the labour situation is resolved," said Didier Faivre, director of Europe's Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.

"It is up to the competent authorities and elected representatives to resolve this situation," he added.

The problems started on Monday when striking workers erected a barricade of tyres and wooden pallets at the space centre, preventing the transfer of the rocket to its launch pad.

The rocket is to deliver communications satellites for Brazil and South Korea into Earth orbit.

The strikers are demanding better career development opportunities, higher salaries and improved health care.

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