Vega Rocket Failure Apparently Caused by Human Error

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 19, 2020

After launching from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 8:52 PM EST, the first phases of flight looked good. Immediately after the first ignition, however, AVUM went off course, never to recover.

The company added that data analysis is underway to determine the cause of the mission's failure.

This week's disaster is the second major failure within the last two have beset the Vega programme - which has racked up 15 successful launches in total.

At about eight minutes into the flight, the engine on Vega's upper stage ignited. On board the rocket was a Spanish Earth-imaging satellite called SEOSat-Ingenio, which would have been operated by the European Space Agency, and another imaging satellite from France called TARANIS. It appears that cables connected to a pair of thrust vector control actuators were inverted. Less than 24 hours later, the launch provider published a statement identifying a problem with the integration of the fourth-stage AVUM nozzle activation system.

"This is a production and quality issue, not a series of human errors, and design", Logier was quoted as saying by SpaceNews. Although an independent inquiry will be completed jointly by Arianespace and the European Space Agency, the identification of a human error may result in little to no delay to upcoming Vega missions.

Vega's return to flight, delayed by the health crisis and poor weather conditions in French Guiana, took place on 3 September.

Arianespace, the company operating the launch rocket, announced the mission's failure soon after it deviated from its trajectory. Arianspace The reason That incident led to the structural problem of the second phase of Vega, which was later resolved.

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