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SMi Global MilSatCom 2019

Arianespace Flight VV15: Mission failure

(11 July 2019 - Arianespace) Approximately two minutes after the Vega launcher’s liftoff, shortly after ignition of the second stage (Zefiro 23), a launcher anomaly occurred – leading to the premature end of the mission which was launching the FalconEye 1 satellite.

Data analyses are in progress to clarify the reasons for this failure.

The FalconEye 1 satellite was a high performance optical Earth-observation satellite for the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAEAF) manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor and Thales Alenia Space as co-prime. The satellite was destroyed as a result of the launch failure.

This was the first Vega failure after 14 successful launches in a row since being introduced at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana in 2012.

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace immediately decided to appoint an independent inquiry commission. This commission is tasked with analyzing the reasons for the failure and defining the measures needed to ensure the resumption of Vega flights while fulfilling all requisite safety and security conditions. The inquiry commission is co-chaired by the Inspector General of ESA and the Senior Vice President, Technical and Quality of Arianespace.

Preparations for the next Ariane 5 launch are continuing at the Guiana Space Center.