Vega C Rocket fails during second launch attempt

Vega-C rocket lifting off from its launch pad at the Kourou space base, French Guiana, Tuesday, December 20, 2022.

The Vega-C rocket lifts off from its launch pad at the Kourou space base, French Guiana, on December 21, 2022.
Photo: JM Guillon (access point)

Vega-C mid-altitude rocket from Arianespace it failed to reach orbit on its second mission, resulting in the destruction of both satellites on board.

The rocket, developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), built by the Italian company Avio and operated by Arianespace, took off on Tuesday at 8:47 pm ET from the Kourou space base in French Guiana, carrying the Neo 5 and Neo 6 satellites for Airbus’ Neo Pleiades Constellation images of the Earth.

The first stage of the rocket successfully separated from the second stage, but problems arose soon after. Around two minutes and 27 seconds after liftoff, the rocket’s second stage, called Zefiro 40, experienced a catastrophic anomaly, Arianespace Announced On twitter.

“After nominal second stage (Zefiro 40) engine ignition around 144 seconds after liftoff, a drop in pressure was observed leading to the premature end of the mission,” Arianespace wrote in a statement. declaration.

“After this low pressure, we have observed very strong trajectory deviation and anomalies, so unfortunately we can say that the mission was lost,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, in the launch webcast, as reported by SpaceNews. Per standard procedures, the rocket was ordered to self-destruct.

The satellites on board were intended to complete Airbus’ six-satellite constellation, providing high-resolution images of Earth.

Arianespace and ESA have appointed an independent commission of inquiry to look into the reason for the rocket failure and determine what needs to be done before Vega-C can resume flights, according to Arianespace. declaration.

Vega-C was originally scheduled to launch on November 24, but the mission was delayed due to faulty equipment in the payload fairing separation system. The launch system hasn’t had the best track record, with the latest incident marking the third time a Vega rocket has suffered a mission failure in the last eight liftoffs. according to to the BBC. In November 2020, a Vega rocket failed eight minutes into the mission, the result of human error.

More about this story: Vega rocket failure was apparently caused by human error

It’s a disappointing follow up to Vega-C’s debut this summer. On July 13, Vega-C successfully completed its maiden flight, launching the Italian Space Agency’s LARES-2 into orbit as its primary payload. Vega-C is a more powerful successor to the Vega launcher, which was in operation for 10 years. Vega-C is equipped with more powerful first and second stages, along with an improved refiable upper stage.

Tuesday’s mission marked the first time Vega-C carried a commercial payload, so it’s unfortunate that the mission ended in failure. ESA is counting on Vega-C to deliver European payloads into orbit and maintain its presence in the growing space industry by owning its own launch vehicle.

ESA is also preparing to debut Ariane 6, the next-generation launcher that will succeed Ariane 5. Ariane 6 was originally scheduled to launch in 2020, but has suffered numerous delays and is now programmed to fly in 2023. “With Vega-C and Ariane 6, Europe will have a flexible and independent solution for a rapidly changing launch market,” Daniel Neuenschwande, ESA’s Director of Space Transportation, said in a statement. declaration in June.

Let’s hope ESA can recover from the mission failure and get Vega-C back on track.

Plus: We can’t wait for these futuristic rockets to finally take off

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *