Thursday April 2nd 2009. Launch -?? days.


So, today the information that we received in confidence yesterday has been confirmed by the public announcement. The long and the short of it is that fuelling did not start last weekend because at the final launch review some issues were raised about tests made on the spacecraft last year. A high-level committee has been convened to study the test results and report on them. Here, we are somewhat aghast at this news. If there were doubts, why were they not raised earlier? However, the likely impact on the launch date is small (unless, of course, the paperwork is unsatisfactory… but let’s not even think about that). Effectively the fuelling-up will be delayed a week and we confidently expect a final announcement in the middle of next week. By a lucky chance, the next Ariane launch has already got a two week delay, so we will not be delaying another launch ourselves, provided that we launch the blue touchpaper soon.


This morning I should have been giving a talk to a group of visiting European teachers. I am still hardly eating anything and as weak as a kitten. However, I have begun to feel stronger through the day. Tomorrow, I intend to work.


“Space Cadet” helped keep me sane. By the evening the book was finished and it was time to pass to a similar story by Arthur C. Clarke “Islands in the Sky”. Entertaining and relaxing.