Space: July 22, 2001


An Ariane-5 booster launched on 12 July put two satellites (the European Space Agency Artemis advanced communications satellite and a Japanese commercial television satellite) into the wrong orbits. The German-built upper stage stopped prematurely, leaving the satellites stranded halfway to their intended 22,360-mile orbits. In theory the satellites can climb to proper orbits with their onboard fuel but this will shorten their service lives, perhaps by 90%. This was the third serious failure for Ariane-5, which is making it hard to convince customers to use this booster.Stephen V Cole


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