ESA: Vega C will be relaunched in 2023
The Vega-C rocket launch project will be revamped before the end of the year after the failure of the December launch.
Director General Josef Aschbacher of the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that the Agency plans to restart Vega-C single-body rocket flights before the end of 2023. Of the last eight launch attempts three had failed and resulted in accidents.
"The failure represents the third failure in the last eight flights of Vega-C. We take it extremely serious in terms of actions that need to follow out of this. I would claim that we are in a crisis … We are recognizing these shortcomings … We would expect a launch of Vega-C before the end of 2023," Aschbacher said commenting on the recent failure of the Vega-C's December launch.
The Failure of Vega-C December Launch
Back in December, the French operating company Arianespace announced the failure of the Vega-C rocket. After taking off from the space center in Kourou (the French colony in South America), the rocket crashed after its second flight.
Later that day, the ESA announced that the December launch of the Vega-C rocket had failed owing to a faulty component obtained from Ukraine by the Italian aerospace company Avio.
"Initial investigations, conducted right after the launch with the available flight data, confirmed that the launcher's sub-systems reacted to the events as designed and that the cause of the failure was a gradual deterioration of the Zefiro 40’s nozzle. More precisely, the Commission confirmed that the cause was an unexpected thermo-mechanical over-erosion of the carbon-carbon (C-C) throat insert of the nozzle, procured by Avio in Ukraine," the ESA announced in a report, following the investigations.
Further investigations revealed that the problem was with the homogeneity of the material used. The ESA noted afterward that this specific C-C can no longer be considered viable for use.
Read more: Nasa's Webb telescope captures clearest image of Neptune in decades
"Avio is implementing an immediate alternative solution for the Zefiro 40’s nozzle with another C-C material, manufactured by ArianeGroup, already in use for Vega’s Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9 nozzles," the document read.
The 2019 and 2020 Vega-C launches from the Guiana Space Centre also failed, leading ESA to lose satellites made by Italy, France, and the United Arab Emirates which it had planned to deploy into orbit.
Technicalities of the Space Rocket Launcher
The Vega-C launch rocket is a modified variant of the Vega launch rocket. It is capable of carrying a load weighing up to 2,300 kilograms into a polar orbit 700 kilometers above the earth's level. The Vega C rocket weighs around 210 tons and measures 35 meters in length which is 5 meters longer than its predecessor prototype: the Vega launch rocket.
Read more: By sheer accident, a new planet discovered