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European Moon Orbiter Launch Rescheduled

September 2, 2003

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ The launch of the first European moon orbiter will be rescheduled for the end of September, the European Space Agency ESA said Tuesday.

The new launch date of the orbiter, which is piggybacking on an Ariane-5 rocket, will be announced by launching company Ariannespace next week, ESA said.

The launch was originally scheduled for the night of Sept. 3 but was delayed after one of the rocket’s other two clients wanted to make adjustments to its satellite.

In addition to ESA’s moon orbiter ``Smart-1,″ the rocket will carry the telecommunications satelitte ``Insat-3E″ for India and Eutelsat’s broadband Internet connection satellite ``e-BIRD.″

The Smart-1, Europe’s first mission to the moon, will be propelled in part by solar power.

On its two-year mission, it will look for water hidden deep within craters on the moon’s surface and look for evidence the moon was created when a giant asteroid struck the Earth during the early days of our solar system.

Weighing just 370 kilograms (815 pounds) and costing 100 million euros (US$108 million), the craft is part of a European strategy to build spaceships smaller and more cheaply than does the U.S. space agency, NASA.

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