The European Space Agency (ESA) has expressed concern about the condition of its carrier rockets after the failed launch of a Vega-C rocket last December. The European Space Agency told the German news agency (dpa) that the European launch platform sector “is going through a serious crisis.”
The space agency stated that the problems began about a year ago when Russia decided to withdraw its “Soyuz” missiles from the European space port in Kourou, French Guiana. In what is considered a major blow to European spaceflight, the first commercial mission of the European Vega-C rocket ended in failure shortly after its launch from French Guiana on December 20.
The rocket deviated from its trajectory a few minutes after liftoff from the European space base in Kourou, according to Arianespace, the commercial launch service provider.
The company classified the launch as a failure and said there was a problem with the Zephyro 40 solid-fuel rocket engine.
The rocket was supposed to carry two Earth observation satellites owned by Airbus into orbit. Meanwhile, the launch of the Ariane 6 rocket had to be postponed again to the last quarter of this year, according to the European Space Agency.
Ariane 6 was originally scheduled to be launched in 2020, but the launch has been postponed several times, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite these problems, the European Space Agency confirmed that Europeans’ access to space is “not in danger”.
The European Space Agency relies on the Vega C and Ariane 6 rockets to make European spaceflight more competitive. The “Ariane 6” is the next model of the “Ariane 5”, which has been operating since 1996. The “Vega C” represents a further development of the “Vega” rocket, which has been carrying light satellites into space since 2012.
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