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Soyuz rocket ‘anomaly’ to delay US satellite launch

The Soyuz rocket is raised into a vertical position on the launch pad, Monday, June 4, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Joel Kowsky/NASA)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket set to carry satellites into space for a U.S startup has been delayed after an “anomaly” was discovered on the spacecraft, the company says.

“It’s true, there is an anomaly on the rocket which will cause us to push out the launch. Our satellites are ready to go! More to come…” OneWeb Chairman Greg Wyler tweeted on January 31.

The rocket was scheduled to take off next month from the Kourou space center in French Guiana and propel the first of a series of satellites into orbit that Virginia-based OneWeb wants to use to create a worldwide Internet service.

In a statement, OneWeb said it had been informed of a technical issue on the upper stage of the Soyuz launcher, but did not say the launch had been postponed.

“Such events are not uncommon in the launch industry,” the company said.

Russia’s space agency, Roskosmos, has not yet commented on the delay.