March 21, 2023

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The European Space Agency blames a corroded nozzle for the failure of the Vega-C rocket

A Vega-C rocket launches from Kourou Space Base, French Guiana on December 20, 2022.
picture: JM Gillon (AP)

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced the results of a months-long investigation The Vega-C rocket fails to launch Back in December, they pointed to a defect in a motor component as the culprit behind this disastrous anomaly.

the The Independent Investigation Commission shared the results of its investigation on Friday, revealing that the reason behind the mission failure was the gradual deterioration of the second-stage crater of Vega-C, ESA wrote in a statement.

Vega-C took off on December 20, 2022 from Kourou S.speed center In French Guiana, it carries Airbus’ Neo 5 and Neo 6 satellites. Pleiades Neo constellation earth imaging. About 2 minutes and 27 seconds after launch, the rocket’s second stage, named Zefiro 40, experienced a depressurization and the mission was terminated. The rocket, developed by the European Space Agency, built by Italy’s Avio, and operated by Arianespace, failed to reach orbit and its payload was destroyed.

According to the results of the investigation, the Zefiro 40’s nozzle throat hole—the part of the engine where hot exhaust leaves the combustion chamber—suffered “thermo-mechanical corrosion,” ESA wrote. As the throat eroded, the chamber pressure dropped and caused the missile’s thrust to decrease. The commission concluded that the material from which the larynx is made, a specific type of carbonaceous (CC), would not be used in flight, and that the collapse was “most likely due to a defect in the homogeneity of the material,” wrote Esa. Avio. Bought this wrong part of Ukraine.

“Given the nature of the VV22 anomaly, the Commission confirms that its conclusions on Zefiro 40 do not affect the Vega launcher,” the ESA wrote in its statement. “In this context, Arianespace has decided to adjust its launch schedule for a mission reset for one of its remaining Vega launchers with a target launch date before the end of summer 2023.”

Vega-C debuted In July 2022, it took off for the first time from the Space Agency’s launch facility in Guyana. The medium lift rocket was hailed as a worthy successor to the small one Vega Launcher, which has been in operation for ten years. The European space industry as a whole has been relying on Vega-C to provide some kind of local access to Earth Orbit, transfer payloads and maintain Europe’s presence in the industry.

The second rocket launch may not go as planned, but the European Space Agency and Arianespace are ready to see Vega-C fly again.

more: Astra’s investigation reveals the cause of the missile’s launch failure

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