Vega-C fails on its first operational mission23. 12. 2022
On Dec. 20, Arianespace Vega-C failed during its first operational mission. The new rocket launched for the second time after a successful debut launch in July. Designated Vega Vehicle 22 (VV22) suffered a failure during the second stage burn following a nominal ascent of the first stage. At T+3 minutes and 45 seconds, the trajectory started to veer off from the planned trajectory indicating mission loss. It was reported that a progressive decrease of the chamber pressure up to 208 seconds was observed on the telemetry.
Vega-C features upgraded solid rocket motors on the first, second, and fourth stages compared to the original version of Vega, a small-class satellite launcher in Arianespace’s fleet of rockets. Since its introduction in 2012, Vega has flown a total of 21 times with 19 successful missions.
The mission plan was set to carry the Pléiades Neo 5 and 6 Earth-observation satellites to a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). Pléiades Neo is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite constellation that is built, operated, and owned by Airbus Defence and Space.
This is another setback for Europe’s space access capabilities as the development of the Ariane 6 continues with a targeted launch in late 2023.