Every rocket failure gets a thorough investigation into the problems suffered on the launch, but the recent failure of a Vega launch on July 10th is to receive an independent inquiry commission.
The decision to hold such an investigation comes from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace. The special commission is co-chaired by the ESA’s Inspector General.
The flight (VV15) carried the valuable FalconEye1 craft for the United Arab Emirates and was the first problem launch after 14 successful launches.
The satellite was insured for more than $400 million and may result in being the biggest-ever insurance loss.
The Vega launch was said to have suffered a “major anomaly” some 2 minutes into its flight, with all communications lost at some 6 minutes after launch. The problem seemed to occur just after ignition of the rocket’s second stage. The rocket then veered off course.
FalconEye 1 had a dual mission, part military surveillance and communications, and providing the commercial market with ground images.
FalconEye 1 was built by Airbus Defence & Space and Thales.
Arianespace uses Vega launchers for smaller satellites.