European Vega Rocket Failure, France and Spain satellites were lost

European Vega Rocket Failure, France and Spain satellites were lost

On Monday, November 16, an Arianespace Vega rocket experienced some failure a few minutes after the launch. The failure led to the loss of France and Spain satellites. The 30-meter Vega rocket took off at 0152 GMT Tuesday (8:52 p.m. EST Monday) from the European-run Guiana Center in South America with the French Taranis research satellite and the Spanish Earth Observation satellite. The French satellite was designed to conduct a study of electrical discharges from thunderstorms.

Stephane Israel, Arianespace CEO, said that they officially confirm the mission is lost. He added that everything was moving as expected until the eighth minute when the upper stage was ignited, and trajectory degradation was observed. The rocket then lost contact with ground stations. 

According to the Arianespace officials, the problem occurred in the fourth-stage OVUM nozzle, making it move in the opposite direction from the rocket’s management system, causing the launcher to lose control. This is the second time the Vega rocket is experiencing launch failure in the past two years. The last failure had occurred in July 2019 when the Vega rocket failed while launching the United Arab Emirates’ Satellite. The investigations found a faulty motor on the booster caused the failure. 

On September 2, the Vega rocket came back to flight during the launch of 53 small satellites to orbit for various international clients. This mission was carried out successfully. Israel said that Arianespace really apologize for the mission failure, and investigations are underway to establish the failure’s real cause.

SEOSAT-Ingenio is Spain’s Earth observation satellite for ESA (European Space Agency) that is designed to observe our planet. It has a high-solution dual camera with a resolution of 8.2-feet for imaging the Earth. The satellite can also look sideways, enabling it to study the Earth from any point of view for three days. 

The TARANIS satellite is developed to study bright electrical phenomena in the upper atmosphere of the Earth. TARANIS stands for Tool for the Analysis of RAdiation from LightiNIng and Sprites. The satellite specifically studies visible-light flashes called sprites, elves, and blue jets, gamma-rays flashes for a period of four years. 

Vega rockets can carry to polar orbits capacities of up to 1500 kilograms (3300 lbs) over 700 km (400 miles) above Earth. European Space Agency and Arianespace are designing an upgraded Vega rocket with a capacity of up to 2300 kg (5070 lbs), which is 60% higher than the current rocket.