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credit Flight / caption: Arianespace’s Ariane 5 GS stands on its launch pad

The launch of France’s Helios 2B reconnaissance satellite has been cancelled for today and is to be rescheduled in a few days time

The cancellation news came just after 10am local time (1300h GMT) from Arianespace chief executive Jean-Yves Le Gall. A valve on the Ariane 5 GS launcher’s first stage helium pressurisation system, used to presssurise the propellant tanks and other systems, failed resulting in decreasing helium pressure levels 

A statement by Arianespace says: “During final countdown operations for flight 193 slated for today, an anomaly occured in a launcher subsystem. As a result, Arianespace has decided to replace this part, and thus to postpone the launch for a few days. The launch vehicle and its Helios 2B satellite payload have been placed in standby mode and maintained in fully safe conditions.”

To replace the valve the rocket has to be moved back to its assembly building resulting in the delay of a few days