ESA Delays Launch Of Galaxy-Mapping Spacecraft Gaia

The craft has been undergoing tests before its original planned launch date of November 20.

Gaia's Sunshield Deploying, October 10, 2013

ESA-CNES-Arianespace / Optique Vidéo du CSG - G. Barbaste

The European Space Agency's galaxy-mapping spacecraft, Gaia, was originally scheduled to launch in less than a month. It looks like that date will be pushed back, however. The agency posted on the Gaia Blog today:

Due to recently-discovered technical issues, ESA has decided to perform additional verifications on its Gaia satellite, and therefore we have requested that Arianespace postpone the Gaia launch, currently scheduled for November 20, 2013.

A new launch date will be announced as soon as the availability of the satellite is confirmed.

Gaia's last two blog entries described some recent tests the craft underwent, including a "flawless" test of its sunshield.