posted on Dec, 12 2002 @ 04:59 AM
Europe's new heavy-lift rocket has failed on its maiden flight.
The Ariane 5-ESCA blasted off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 1921 local time (2221 GMT) and exploded over the Atlantic three minutes
Sources close to the launch site have told BBC News Online that first indications suggest a failure of the rocket's main Vulcain-2 engine, as its
performance was seen to reduce dramatically before the vehicle veered off course.