back to article Upper-atmos ion drive dart sat launch delayed

A new European satellite which will fly aerodynamically through the extreme upper reaches of the atmosphere, using ion rocket propulsion to maintain orbital speed, has been held up on the launch pad with just seconds left on the countdown. Artist's impression of the GOCE spacecraft in orbit The ion ship, buffeted by upper- …


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  1. M7S

    So it has Twin Ion Engines then

    Where have I heard that configuration mentioned before?

    Not so far far away then.

    The long black cloak, and the full helmet.

  2. Lionel Baden

    next window ??

    I thought he said the door was stuck

  3. Vlad The Impugner


    the TIE Surveyor? Was that in one of the addon packs?

  4. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The door to the tower didnt open???

    Are you trying to tell me that the way the rockets are commanded to launch in Russia is by someone leaning out of the control tower door and yelling to someone on the launch pad, "Yep hit the button Yuri!"? Why would a door not opening in the control tower cause a failure to launch? Thats like saying someone farting in the general direction of the space shuttle prevented its launch due to high winds!

    Whats the real reason el reg? Enquiring minds demand to know!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    @lglethal / High Winds

    "Thats like saying someone farting in the general direction of the space shuttle prevented its launch due to high winds!"

    You obviously haven't met my manager then!

  6. Frank

    Any Lift?

    If it experiences drag in the upper atmosphere, then a suitable wing should give it lift. I realise the wing may need to be several kilometres wide and super thin/light, so there are some practical details to be sorted out; but this could make it even more 'aerodynamic'.

  7. Dave Morris

    Door Not Opening

    Perhaps they meant the bay doors to the launch tower. Perhaps this launch tower is a re-purposed missile silo, or purpose built that way in order to defend against difficult weather or the like. I would imagine if the personnel door to the control tower was stuck, they would probably not abort the launch - especially with only 7 seconds until ignition.

  8. David Given

    @ Iglethal

    ...because the SS-19 is a converted ICBM and launches out of underground missile silos. And you *really* want the lid on top of the silo to open before you launch your rocket. Trust me on this one.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Russian space forces?

    Bet they have *big* fur coats and hats....

  10. Nick L

    Stable doors and bolts

    They forgot the magic words - "Open the pod bay doors, HAL"

  11. John

    @Frank re: any lift?

    Lift isn't the problem. The craft is traveling fast enough around the earth that it "falls" in an arc the same diameter as it's orbit. The problem is drag at that low an altitude, so the wings would actually make the problem worse.

    The Ion drive is to keep the speed up once it's in orbit. It doesn't do any lifting.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    measure small gravity variations

    so whould the satellite be able to measure the very small variations in the Earth's gravity. when new tunnels are build below a border?

    Does israel have a stack in that mission?

  13. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    I wondered why xenon.

    And then I wondered if it'll leave a pretty colour trail in the night sky.

    And the I wondered if it'll say "Coca Cola"...

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