Arianespace’ Vega C rocket failed losing two Airbus Pléiades Neo satellites

Arianespace’ Vega C rocket failed losing two Airbus Pléiades Neo Earth Observation satellites

On December 20th, 2022 Arianespace’s Vega C launcher failed, losing two Pléiades Neo satellites for customer Airbus. This was just the second launch for Vega C, Europe’s new light-lift rocket. The first launch was executed successfully in July of 2022.

The first stage of flight VV22 ignited nominally and stage separation was successful. However, the second stage the Zefiro 40 engine ignited, but there was a sudden decrease in pressure that resulted in destroying the launcher by falling safely in the ocean.

The satellites lost, Pléiades Neo 5 and 6, were the final two satellites of the Airbus Pléiades Neo Earth Observation constellation. Airbus manufactured both satellites.

Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company, operating a full family of launchers: Ariane 5 for heavy lift spacecraft, the Soyuz for medium size and Vega for light weight spacecraft.

The French multinational company was the world’s first commercial launch service provider and operates five locations worldwide for the production, operation and marketing of the Ariane program. Arianespace operates its launch services from South America (at the Spaceport in French Guiana) and Central Asia (at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazachstan).

The company was founded in 1980 and has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, France, near Paris and is a subsidiary of The Ariane Group. Arianespace launched more than 550 satellites since 1980.