back to article ESA delays Vega-C's return after nozzle design fails tests

The Vega-C rocket will not return to launch until late 2024 because a test on a redesigned nozzle failed, the European Space Agency revealed on Monday. The redesign was recommended after the launcher failed to place two Airbus satellites in orbit last December, thanks to an anomaly in the Zefiro 40 engine nozzle used in the …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

    I'm honstly rather surprised by this situation.

    I would have thought the ESA would have had a better grasp on scheduling than to retire a launcher that works before its successor was ready.

    But hey, this is rocket science, and I'm sure the people on the project are working their asses off to make things right. Space engineers are no slouches. If the launcher is not ready, I'm sure there are good reasons for it.

    Shame though.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

      +1

      How it is wise to decommission a workhorse with a 95.7% success rate when no successor is ready to take the place? It is ill advised, and it lets Europe without a heavy launcher. As the reason probably lies in the highest spheres, I don't expect any inquiry and even less any sanction.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

        I guess it's a bit more complicated than that.

        Satellite designers usually expect a particular fairing and launch criteria so build to those specifications. At some point, if you keep legacy launchers in production the designers will be building for the new and you will end up with legacy launchers with nothing to launch and doing nothing apart from hitting the accounts. In addition if launch infrastructure has to change for the new design the decision to dump the old and build the new must be taken.

        It does seem a bit counter-intuitive but when decisions are made years in advance I can see why it ends up with problems sometimes.

        1. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

          And yet, in the commercial world, people have moved payloads between Ariane and Atlas V in just 6 months. And now requal’d from Ariane 6 to Falcon Heavy in just 2 months.

          It’s funny how the politically impossible happens every day, when an operators own money is at stake.

      2. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

        Because EU Commission forced Arianespace to rebrand Russian Soyuz as “an Ariane launch” to launch Galileo. That’s why. Once the Commission had installed its liars, getting rid of Dordain and ultimately putting Aschbacher in as DG ESA, there was no public-facing gap between Ariane 5 and 6.

        And the EU ra-ra boys stood by and cheered them on, while they did it. That’s why.

      3. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

        Eh, the US did it between Apollo and Shuttle... and between Shuttle and Falcon 9.

        1. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: "Its Ariane 5 heavy lifter has flown its last mission and its successor is yet to fly."

          The difference is that nobody ever really needed Shuttle. So, having a decadal gap on either side, was never really an issue. Whereas Ariane5 genuinely was a workhorse.

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