The launch of the European “Vega” carrier rocket failed, or the upper stage of the rocket lost control due to the reverse installation of the control system cables.
At 22:52 on November 16, local time in Kuru, Ariane Aerospace launched a “Vega” carrier rocket at the Kuru Space Center in French Guiana, but the rocket deviated from its intended orbit 8 minutes after launch and the launch mission failed.
According to SpaceNews, Ariane Aerospace Chief Technology Officer Roland Lagier stated on November 17 that after the launch, the first three stages of the Vega carrier rocket performed normally, and then the upper stage separated and ignited the engine, but just after the ignition, the rocket lost control , “This loss of control is continuous, causing a noticeable roll, and then the trajectory starts to deviate quickly, causing the mission to fail.”
After analyzing the telemetry data of this mission and the data during the rocket production process, they found that the cables of the rocket’s two thrust vector control drives were inverted, and the commands that should have entered one drive entered the other drive, causing the rocket out of control. “This is obviously a production and quality problem, a series of human errors, not a design problem.” Roland Lagier said.
According to the statement issued by the European Space Agency, Ariane Space will establish an independent investigation committee with the European Space Agency, chaired by Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at the European Space Agency and Stéphane Israël, CEO of Ariane Space, to confirm Reasons for the failure and propose corrective measures.
The “Vega” launch vehicle is a four-stage launch vehicle developed by Europe. It is 30 meters high and 3 meters in diameter. It can launch a payload of 300 kg to 1.5 tons depending on the altitude of the orbit. The “Vega” rocket is considered to be the main force for Europe to participate in the global space launch competition.
In 2012, the “Vega” rocket was launched for the first time, and the first commercial launch was achieved the following year. In July 2019, a “Vega” carrier rocket disintegrated in the air when it launched an Earth observation satellite for the UAE, and suffered its first launch failure since 2012.
In September this year, the go-around “Vega” carrier rocket successfully put 53 satellites into orbit one after another, completing the first single launch business under the European Space Agency’s “Small Spacecraft Mission Service” (SSMS) program.
Stéphane Israël emphasized that the failure of the “Vega” launch vehicle was not related to the failure in July 2019. The failure last year was due to a structural problem in the second stage of the rocket, which was later corrected.
The “Vega” rocket was originally planned to put the SEOSAT-Ingenio earth observation satellite of the European Space Agency and the Spanish Industrial Technology Development Center and the TARANIS scientific research satellite of the French National Space Research Center into orbit. Ariane stated that the wreckage of the rocket has fallen into an uninhabited area near the planned recovery range of the third-stage rocket.