Satellite launch to test Einstein’s idea on space and time delayed

A European satellite launch to find ripples in space that can be caused by merging black holes has been delayed due to a technical problem with its Vega rocket, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Tuesday.

The European-built spacecraft, known as LISA Pathfinder, was due to be launched from French Guiana at 0415 GMT on Wednesday. Such delays due to technical issues or poor weather are not unusual.

“ESA’s LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is in stable and safe conditions and the launcher teams are currently working on this technical issue,” ESA said.

The teams will make a decision on Wednesday as to whether the launch can be rescheduled for Thursday.

LISA Pathfinder is expected to break ground in the search for the ripples, known as gravitational waves, caused by fast-moving, massive celestial objects.

Unlike light, gravitational waves bend the interwoven fabric of space and time, a phenomenon conceptualized by physicist Albert Einstein a century ago.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Additional reporting by Irene Klotz in Cape Canaveral; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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