A European mission to launch a satellite aboard the Arianespace Vega rocket ended prematurely after a "big anomaly" occurred just two minutes after the launch. The anomaly occurred during the ignition of the second stage of the Vega rocket, after which the mission control lost its telemetry connection from the launcher. The unscrewed mission was planning to orbit a Falcon Eye 1 military satellite from the United Arab Emirates from the Guiana Space Center in South America. Arianespace is a launching provider with headquarters in France, under the supervision of the European Space Agency.
It is currently unclear what the cause of the problem was. During the mission's live stream, Arianespace's executive vice president of missions, operations, and procurement, Luce Fabreguettes, simply said that a "big anomaly" had occurred. A statement on the Arianspace website said that "Data analysis is underway to clarify the reasons for this failure" and that an "independent commission of inquiry" will be established in the coming hours.
The live broadcast of the launch does not offer many clues about what went wrong. About 26 minutes after the live stream you can see that the ignition of the first stage of the rocket has ended and shortly thereafter it appears that the telemetry data of the flight diverts its course from the planned route. The rocket later crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and destroyed the satellite that it carried.
The Vega rocket is the newest rocket according to Arianespace SpaceNewsand had previously carried out 14 successful missions since the first launch in February 2012. The rocket is designed to launch loads of up to 1,500 kg in a low orbit around the earth. The Falcon Eye 1 satellite it wore was built by Airbus Defense and Space and is said to have served both the UAE forces and commercial image services.
Fortunately, the Arianespace rocket was on a non-screwed mission, unlike the Russian Soyuz mission that failed last year and forced its two crew members to make an emergency landing. The cause of the failure later turned out to be a turn in one of the sensors of the rocket, which triggered a series of events that led the rocket to violently change course. After the problem was resolved, the Soyuz rocket successfully launched in the same configuration in a subsequent non-screwed and then manned missions.