Arianespace’s Vega rocket fails to deploy UAE satellite in orbit

A map showing the rocket's trajectory during the launch was clearly off track from the intended path.

Arianespace’s Vega rocket fails to deploy UAE satellite in orbit

Arianespace’s Vega rocket fails to deploy UAE satellite in orbit

Kourou, French Guiana, France — In spite of getting a successful liftoff from the Guiana Space Center in South America on Wednesday night, the Arianespace Vega rocket ultimately failed to reach orbit following an anomaly during the ignition of the second stage.

The video of the launch, which has since been removed by Arianespace, the European-based launch company, did not show an ignition of the second stage when it should have taken place about two minutes into flight.

A map showing the rocket's trajectory during the launch was clearly off track from the intended path.

Less than 10 minutes after the liftoff, Arianespace acknowledged the mistake.

"About two minutes after liftoff, around (second stage) ignition, a major anomaly occurred resulting in the loss of the mission," said Luce Fabreguettes, Executive Vice President of missions, operations and purchasing at Arianespace about nine minutes after launch. "On behalf of Arianespace, I wish to express my deepest apologies to our customers for the loss of their payload."

The rocket launch, which was Arianespace's sixth launch of the year, was carrying an Earth-observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates called FalconEye1. This was going to be one of two satellites in this system, the other of which was on track to launch later this year on the same type of rocket. It is unknown whether that launch will go on as planned.

Arianespace was founded in 1980 and has launched more than 600 satellites to date.