Space: European Vega C rocket launch fails – two Airbus satellites lost

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Space: European Vega C rocket launch fails – two Airbus satellites lost

The satellites could photograph every point on the planet several times during the day with a high resolution of 30 centimeters.

The launch of the new European Vega C rocket from the European space station in Kourou, South America, which took place on Tuesday night, was disastrous. The result was the loss of two Airbus Defense and Space Pleiades Neo Earth observation satellites.

While the rocket’s first stage did its job after launch, the second, named Zefiro 40, failed. As the French aerospace company Arianespace announced, “approximately 2 minutes and 27 seconds after launch, an anomaly occurred in Zefiro 40, thus ending the Vega C mission. Data analyzes are underway to determine the causes of the failure.” .

Vega C was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is managed by Arianespace. The 35-meter-tall, four-part rocket is an improved version of the original Vega that appeared in 2012. Vega C can send into space (at an altitude of 700 kilometers) a payload of up to 2,300 kg, compared to 1,500 kg of its predecessor.

The two satellites lost to the rocket failure are Pleiades Neo 5 and 6, which together weighed nearly two tons and were to complete the “constellation” of Earth observation satellites being developed by Airbus. These are four identical high-tech satellites that can photograph every point of the planet several times during the day with a high resolution of 30 centimeters.

To date the new Vega C has only flown once, in July this year, when it successfully launched the 295 kg LARES-2 satellite of the Italian Space Agency. Today’s second launch was originally scheduled for November 24, but Arianespace delayed it by nearly a month to replace a faulty component on the rocket. It remains unclear at this time whether the missile failure is related to that component. Relevant clarifications are awaited from Arianespace.

RES-EMP

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