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Kourou, do we have a problem?

It's a nervous wait for a €5bn rocket to launch. But it's worse if you're inside mission HQ

By Stephen Eales   June 2009

“All systems go”: an Ariane 5 space rocket is readied for launce at Europe’s Spaceport

On 14th May two giant telescopes on top of an Ariane 5 rocket were launched into space from Kourou in French Guiana. From Cardiff I am leading two of the surveys that one of the telescopes is carrying out. This is my account of the days leading up to launch.

Launch -6 days. I am a chronic worrier, but it is disconcerting to see my normally level-headed colleagues join me in the fog of anxiety. The conversation at coffee every day this week…

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