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Dispute delays European weather satellite launch
Posted: Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 1:12 PM ET (1712 GMT)
MetOp-B illustration (ESA) A European weather satellite that was scheduled for launch in May will be delayed until at least July because of a dispute between Kazakhstan and Russia regarding the drop zones for the rocket's stages. ESA had hoped to launch its MetOp-B polar-orbiting weather satellite on May 23 from Baikonur on a Soyuz-2.1a rocket. However, Kazakhstan protested those launch plans, which require the booster stages of the Soyuz to fall on Kazakh territory north of Baikonur, a different area than the customary drop zone for Soyuz launches to lower-inclination orbits. The satellite is the second of three polar-orbiting weather satellites that will be operated by the European weather agency Eumetsat.
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