Vega: European rocket succeeds in flight after two failures

The Vega rocket mission VV18 was launched without incident on the night of April 28-29. A real success for the European Arianespace program, which had suffered some setbacks in recent years.

The Vega Launcher
ESA – SNES – ARIANESPACE credits

While everyone still has in mind the launch of the Crew Dragon capsule carrying Thomas Pesquet, the Vega rocket carried out its eighteenth launch last night. After two failures which had represented real obstacles for the European space program, the launch of the launcher went well this time, as did the putting satellites into orbit that he was taking.

Vega’s mission was finally successful

Finally, good news for the Vega pitcher, who had come a long way. In 2019, the mission VV15 could not even be launched: in question, a defect in the design of the dome of the engine, on the second stage of the rocket. In 2020, a second mission (VV17), had also encountered problems, because of human errors at the level of the fourth floor.

This is why this eighteenth mission was crucial for Arianespace, which was in great need of success. It was also necessary to restore confidence in the light rocket Vega, which had also always shown reliability before, with fourteen successful launches.

« VV18 is now complete – another mission success and a stunning demonstration of Europe’s strength and ability to cooperate! It was an incredible adventure for Arianespace, Avio [le constructeur de Vega, ndlr] and the teams from the European Space Agency, who made this return to flight possible! »Quickly tweeted Stéphane Israel, who is at the head of Arianespace.

See also: Falcon 9: the rocket puts 143 satellites into orbit at once, a record

The European rocket was launched in Guyana, in Kourou, at 10:50 p.m. local time last night. In less than two hours, six satellites were successfully deployed into orbit. The largest payload, the satellite Pléiades Neo 3, is a very high resolution satellite for Earth observation. Three other Pléiades Neo satellites will be deployed by 2022, during other Vega missions. These models are all designed by the French Airbus Defense and Space.

In addition to this brand new satellite, they are five other smaller aircraft that were put into orbit during the mission: the NorSat-3 satellite, for the Norwegian space agency, the Bravo satellite, for the US company Aurora Insight, two other satellites for the Spire company, and finally the Tyvak-182A, for Eutelsat, a French box.

If there are still more flights to Vega, she will ultimately be replaced by a new version, baptized Vega-C. Its first flight is scheduled, if all goes well, for 2021. Its specificity will also serve as a propellant for Ariane 6. But the European agency does not stop there since it has already planned another version, Vega-E.

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