back to article Gone in 120 seconds: Arianespace aims for stars, misses, as UAE satellite launch fails

Arianespace's Vega rocket suffered its first failure last night and dumped its United Arab Emirates payload into the Atlantic Ocean. The 15th launch of the booster had been grounded for days due to high winds at the launch complex in French Guiana. The previous 14, including the maiden flight in 2012, had all gone off without …

  1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Perhaps they should have ....

    .... launched it from Cape Canaveral a week ago. I'm sure the USians would have got a big buzz out of it then.

    (Just for clarification this was posted on the 11th of July)

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps they should have ....

      Given this is a satellite for the UAE military, I'm sure the UAE wanted to make sure it didn't get held up/blocked/terminated by the US political apparatus... Instead Vega failed. Oops.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps they should have ....

        The UAE is quite cuddly with the US, and the launch part would have been no problem. It's just that the satellite itself wasn't built by RockwellLockheedMartinBoeing so there might still have been some friction that way.

    2. jmls

      Re: Perhaps they should have ....

      nope. there was no fireworks. Wouldn't have worked for our cousins

      1. Oneman2Many

        Re: Perhaps they should have ....

        I assume at that height, trajectory and location they wouldn't have bothered with launch abort ?

        Nobody really wants a 24 ton bomb landing in their back yard ?

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps they should have ....

      Kourou is closer to the equator and generally has better weather than Canaveral which also has to reserve capacity for US military launches. This is why Ariane handles so many commercial launches.

  2. Andre 3

    Sounds dodgy

    Falcon Eye 1 was built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia. It featured a high-resolution Imager, HiRI, imaging system with a ground resolution of 70 cm across a 20 km swath. It was built for the use of the UAE Armed Forces.

    Sounds like there might be more to this than is being made public.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds dodgy

      There was a time that UK military satellites would suffer one launch failure after another

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Sounds dodgy

      What, you mean it could be used to help find targets in Yemen for that non-war we're not selling them weapons for?

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. 2+2=5 Silver badge


    > The Vega enjoys three solid-fuelled stages, topped off with a liquid-fuelled upper stage to perform final manoeuvres

    Richard, you've been moonlighting too much writing-up house details for estate agents. :-)

    1. Blitheringeejit

      Re: Enjoys?

      I was thinking it sounds a bit like a restaurant review...

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Enjoys?

      > The Vega enjoys three solid-fuelled stages, topped off with a liquid-fuelled upper stage to perform final manoeuvres

      With excellent views and easy conversion into a waterfrontbottom property

  5. defiler Silver badge

    That's what they get with a Vega...

    Should have used a Vega+. I hear they're awesome.

    Okay. I'm leaving.

  6. Dave 32

    Cheverolet Vega

    Why am I reminded of the Cheverolet Vega? Perhaps because they both ended up at the bottom of the ocean?

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A launcher anomaly occurred during Flight #VV15 shortly after ignition of the Zefiro 23 second stage, leading to premature end of the mission. Data analyses are in progress to clarify reasons for this failure. An independent inquiry commission will be set up in the coming hours.

    Translation: "Something broke and the whole thing went 'boom'. ".

    1. HorseflySteve

      No, it didn't go boom, sounds like somebody forgot to light the blue touch paper on the second stage..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why did I keep reading "zefiro" as "zerofire"?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have gone to India

    They have an excellent track record of successful launches and quite cheap too. IIRC they sent a mission to Mars, all for $74 million !

    On the other hand, why has Donald duck not blamed the Iranians, yet ? After all, UAE is thier ally and he is itching for any excuse for war.

    1. HamsterNet

      Re: Should have gone to India

      Or to rather to Mr Musk.

      A Whole falcon 9 is $60m if you want a completely new one.

      Less than $40m for a one careful user with a full service history.

      This is book price before any discounts or ride sharing.

      After this crash the Flacon now has better reliability than the Vega, with a vastly superior payload and orbital injection capability.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    What's wrong with these folks?

    It not Rocket Scie.... Oh

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: What's wrong with these folks?

      You're right, it's not rocket science. That's all done and dusted as far as production vehicle is concerned. It's rocket engineering.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: What's wrong with these folks?

        The engineering is also complete. It's rocket manufacturing and deployment.

        1. fobobob

          Re: What's wrong with these folks?

          Does that make restoring reusable stages an example of rocket surgery?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lost in translation

    Maybe they had to use Viagra instead of Vega ? For second stage performance? Cant understand the French Logic.

  11. Dvon of Edzore

    No boom today

    Most likely a "Remove before Launch" ignition safety was missed in the hurry to get off. Probably lost the orange warning tape when it was put back in after the failed attempt earlier, and Jacques thought "I'll fix that after a quick one at the local."

  12. HamsterNet

    WTF uses this rocket

    Vega book cost is $37m per launch for just 1,450kg to LEO.

    A used Falcon9 launch is about the same cost now and can do 13,500kg to the same orbit.

    The UEA could have launch both sats on the same Flacon 9 for the same price as this one on a Vega rocket.

    Falcon9 does more successful launches per year than the Vega has ever done and after this failure is actully more reliable including its earlier failures.

    Just dont use a Northrop Grumman deployment (use SpaceXs as that works).

  13. Swiss Anton

    Crashed into the Atlantic

    Lets hope there was no plastic on this bird. After crashing into the Atlantic, sir Dave would not be happy if there was.

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