The “small” error that destroyed a rocket and two satellites of 313 million euros

An Arianespace mission that took cargoes to study the Earth failed because of an incredible human failure in the rocket.

Arianespace’s VV17 mission destroyed a 313 million euro rocket and two satellites, all because of a “small” mistake.

The objective of this mission, which departed from French Guyana on November 17, was to take these two satellites into near space to study the Earth and its upper atmosphere.

However, the rocket crashed minutes after launch, with both charges.

What was the cause of the Arianespace rocket accident?

The Vega rocket VV17 it ended up destroyed along with the satellites just eight minutes after its departure. « The mission has been lost, » said Stephane Israel, CEO of Arianespace.

“The speed of the rocket was no longer nominal. I want to offer my deepest apologies to my clients for this mission, ”Israel stressed.

What was the specific fault that caused the accident? The inversion of cables during the construction of the launcher. This caused the flight deviation, according to subsequent analysis.

The construction was carried out in Italy.

The two loads carried by the Vega VV17 were the TARANIS satellite and the Spanish observer SEOSAT Ingenio, both of almost 313 million euros.

The SEOSAT Ingenio had a high-resolution dual camera, capable of taking images of any point on Earth in a period of three days.

The resolution would be almost four meters.

Two disasters in the last two years

The Vega program has added 15 successful launches in total, says the Daily Mail. However, in two years it has suffered two major disasters.

The first was in 2019, when it was trying to carry a satellite from the United Arab Emirates. The cause was a faulty engine in the booster rocket.

Arianespace SA is a French company founded in 1980, established as the first commercial space transportation company. Its launch base is in French Guyana, a former French colony in South America.