Britain’s Satellite to be Launched by Ariane
LONDON (AP) _ The government said Thursday that the European Ariane rocket would be used to launch a British military communications satellite in 1989.
The explosion of the U.S. shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28 caused indefinite postponement of the U.S. launch of two satellites similar to the British Skynet 4C.
But in making the announcement, Defense Secretary George Younger said there was no lack of confidence in the American shuttle.
Earlier this month, William Graham, acting administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, said in Washington that U.S. negotiations for the launch of Skynet 4C effectively ended when the American space program was suspended during investigation of the accident.
The first two Skynets, 4A and 4B, were to have been launched by NASA later this year and early next year.
Younger said: ″We are pleased to be able to demonstrate by this decision the U.K.’s practical support for the European space industry, which has shown by its fine achievements that it is comparable with any in the world.
″The decision does not, of course, indicate any lack of confidence in the U.S. shuttle program,″ he said.
″The shuttle will continue to be fully considered in the selection of launch vehicles for other U.K. military satellites,″ he said.