The head of Italian rocket manufacturer Avio assured customers Nov. 19 that the company was working hard to return Vega to service following the rocket’s second failure in its last three launches.
European launch provider Arianespace conducted a successful return-to-flight mission of Vega, its light-lift rocket, on Sept. 2, completing the vehicle’s first launch in 14 months.
Arianespace announced early Wednesday that it has pushed back the small launch vehicle's upcoming mission, carrying 53 smallsats, until at least Aug. 17.
Japanese synthetic aperture radar (SAR) company Synspective announced April 14 it will launch its first satellite with Rocket Lab after initially selecting Arianespace for that mission.
Since 60% of Avio’s revenue comes from manufacturing, the French government’s March 16 decision to suspend launches from the Guiana Space Center shouldn’t impact revenues as long as Europe’s South American spaceport reopens within two to three months, Ranzo said.
Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said Airbus, the satellite’s manufacturer, asked to switch from Vega to Soyuz to avoid further delays getting Falcon Eye 2 into orbit.
Arianespace is poised to launch up to 22 missions this year, a number that would nearly double the company’s record.
The mission, dubbed ClearSpace-1, is slated to launch in 2025 to capture and deorbit a 100-kilogram Vespa payload adapter an Arianespace Vega left in orbit after deploying ESA’s Proba-V remote-sensing satellite.
The European Space Agency is preparing to allocate a few million euros to ensure Vega doesn’t have any repeats of its July launch failure, an agency official said Nov. 20.
Avio CEO Giulio Ranzo said during a Nov. 7 earnings call, said Vega is on track for a return to flight by March, though what payload will launch on the mission is still to be determined.