Atlas 5 launch delayed from Aug. 12 by satellite issue

Posted: July 26, 2002

Launch of the first Atlas 5 rocket is being postponed after technicians ran into delays readying the mission's commercial satellite cargo for flight. A new launch date has not been set, but officials remain optimistic liftoff will occur sometime in August.

The Eutelsat's Hot Bird 6 TV broadcasting spacecraft is inside an AstroTech processing facility near Titusville undergoing the final preparations before launch. No details were immediately available on what caused the Alcatel-built satellite work to get behind.

Plans had called for the craft to be fueled Monday, then encapsulated in the rocket's nose cone and transported to the vehicle assembly building for mating to the Atlas 5 later in the week. Those activities are now delayed, officials said.

Liftoff had been scheduled for August 12 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Lockheed Martin officials say the new rocket is in good shape and will be ready to fly when the launch is rescheduled.