Ariane Rocket Failure! Vega Lost

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2019

European rocket-launch service provider Arianespace, which markets the satellite, said in a brief statement on Thursday that the Wednesday night launch ended after a "launcher anomaly occurred" bringing the mission to an early end. The mission was carrying the United Arab Emirates' FalconEye1 communications satellite.

It is believed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean north of the space centre.

"About two minutes after takeoff a major anomaly occurred, leading to the loss of the mission", Luce Fabreguettes, director of operations in Kourou, on the northern coast of the French territory in South America, said on Thursday. "On behalf of Arianespace, I wish to express my deepest apologies to our customers for the loss of their payload and telling them how sorry I am".

"From the first flight data analysis we will get in the coming hours more precise information and we will communicate to everybody at the soonest", said Fabreguettes during a livestream of the launch.

The reason for the failure was not immediately known. The flight had been postponed twice because of adverse weather conditions. Some observers on Twitter watching Arianespace's live launch webcast speculated that the Vega booster's second stage did not appear to light up at the planned time, although this has not been confirmed yet by Arianespace.

FalconEye1 had a mass of roughly 2,600 pounds (1,200 kg), which is relatively small; the Hubble Space Telescope, for example, had about 10 times that launch mass. Airbus Defence and Space was the satellite's prime contractor, and Thales Alenia Space the co-prime.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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