Arianespace Cites Defective Carbon Part As Reason For Failed Satellite Mission

The failed satellite mission by Arianespace in December 2022 was attributed to a faulty carbon component. According to the company’s inquiry, the nozzle throat insert was made of a defective carbon/carbon composite. It was obtained by Avio from a Ukrainian source and was most likely to blame for the failure. Arianespace, a company that competes with SpaceX and is owned by Airbus and Safran, has Avio as a partner.

Two Airbus Defence & Space satellites were carried by the operation, which was launched from French Guiana. When a problem with the Zefiro 40 rocket motor arose, the mission was lost about two and a half minutes into the flight. Arianespace’s examination proved there was no flaw in the construction of the Zefiro 40 motor, which drives the Vega C rocket’s second stage.

According to Arianespace, the carbon/carbon composite material is no longer permitted to fly. The corporation added that this launch by Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) was the third failure out of eight attempts on the Vega platform. It was also the Vega C rocket model’s second launch. Attempts by Europe to compete with China, Russia, and the United States in the space race have encountered difficulties.

ESA chief Josef Aschbacher expressed worry that domestic firms’ inability to compete with foreign rivals could jeopardize Europe’s access to space. He emphasized the necessity of ongoing, fruitful missions in order to preserve Europe’s independence in space exploration and technology. Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel apologized to Airbus and said it was unacceptable that the two satellites had been lost.

The carbon material was obtained from a Ukrainian supplier between 2015 and 2017 for the Vega C rocket’s development phase, according to Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, the rocket’s primary contractor. There were no sufficient amounts of a comparable commodity at the time inside the European Union. The material is incredibly sophisticated and is exposed to temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees Celsius, he continued. This means that even a little flaw can result in performance issues.

Ranzo wants to hire more engineers and supply chain managers. Their goal is to work on the Vega C rocket in order to fix the problem. At the end of the year, the partners want to launch the next Vega C. Pressure is mounting on the European space sector to prove that it can participate in the international space race and keep its technological independence. Maintaining trust in Europe’s space ambitions and capacity to fulfill its commitments depends on the success of its missions.

First Launch from New Chinese Commercial Spaceport Set for 2024

The development of the first launch station at the Hainan Commercial Launch Site is expected to be finished by the end of 2024. This will take China’s aerospace sector another step forward. Two launch pads, a launch tower with support structures, water spray systems, lightning protection towers, rocket transfer equipment, and other amenities will be part of the site. A Long March 8 rocket is anticipated to be used for the first launch from the new location in 2024. It will be used for commercial missions and ridesharing 

A second launch pad is also anticipated for the Hainan Commercial Launch Complex in Hainan. The combination of the new launch facilities would make it easier to support China’s expanding launch industry. They will be essential for the country’s commercial rocket companies, whose activity is anticipated to grow by 2024.

The established inland spaceports of Jiuquan, Taiyuan, and Xichang in China, as well as the current launch pads at Wenchang, have been experiencing congestion. The cause of this outcome is the rising demand for launch services. This congestion will be lessened by the new commercial location. The new commercial location also permits the use of kerosene and methane among other fuel kinds.

A larger project for a Wenchang International Aerospace City includes the construction of the Hainan Commercial Launch Site. In addition to satellite data and application services, the city will include rocket assembly industries and satellite research and development facilities. The concerned parties have signed contracts to establish a presence in the city. They include CASC, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the commercial launch firms Deep Blue Aerospace as well as iSpace. Reusable liquid launchers are being developed by the latter pair.

Wenchang has already been the focus of China’s developing launch capabilities. It began with the construction of the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in 2014. This made it possible for China to launch new, more powerful cryogenic rockets. These rockets could carry 22-metric-ton space station modules into orbit. The nation’s first interplanetary expedition, Tianwen-1, as well as a lunar sample return mission, were both launched from this location. With plans for up to 30 launches per year, the site’s activities are expected to increase.

Wenchang will play a bigger part in China’s space goals going forward as the location is extended to make it easier to launch missions to the moon. A low earth orbit test launch of the personnel launcher CASC is constructing for lunar missions is scheduled for 2026. A quick mission to land people on the moon before 2030 may be supported by two of the full, triple-core, three-stage rockets.

Wenchang will participate in the launch of China’s Guowang low Earth orbit communications mega-constellation using the Long March 5B rocket in addition to human missions. The communications services and infrastructure in China will benefit from this massive constellation.