In the night of 16 November, the Vega launcher took off from Kuru with the Taranis satellite on board, but the orbit mission failed because the vehicle was declared barely missing 8 minutes after launch.

The 16 November at 10:52 p.m. local time at the Guyanese Space Center in Kourou, the European Vega launcher took off to place the small Taranis satellite in sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 676 km

The VV17 mission (17 in Vega) which was to last 1 hour 42 minutes was stopped after a few minutes due to an anomaly that caused a deviation from the path

Taranis (Radiation Analyzer from lightNIng and Sprites), also named after the Celtic god of sky and storm, is designed to monitor transient light phenomena (TLE) and gamma flashes on the ground (TGF)

Developed by the French Committee for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (THE) and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) on behalf of CNES, Taranis is the result of extensive research aimed at understanding the origin of transient light events (TLE) visible in the upper atmosphere, also called “ sylphs or sprites («sprites» in English), even «elfes»

These luminous electromagnetic phenomena, discovered at the beginning of the years 1990, occur between 20 and 100 kilometers above thunderstorms and last between less than a millisecond and two seconds

Le satellite Taranis, at least 2, used cameras and photometers to capture unique snapshots and data of these phenomena, to understand the mechanisms underlying energy transfers and was equipped with X-ray detectors, gamma rays, electron detectors and a series of electromagnetic sensors

Unfortunately, the mission of the National Center for Space Studies will not be able to provide answers to these mysterious phenomena. Hopefully the French space community will have to wait a little longer

According to Stefan Israel, CEO of Arianespace, the launch pad deviated from its course after the first ignition of the fourth stage AVUM engine

This is the second failure of the Vega trigger, after a failure in July 2019 due to a design issue, during the launch of Falcon Eye 1

At its 17th launch, Vega also carried SEOSAT-Ingenio, the first Earth observation satellite in Spain, with high-resolution optical images, for a cost of 200 millions of euros

An investigation committee was called upon to try to understand the causes of this discrepancy. Telemetry data is being analyzed. The cause seems to be the inversion of the cables that control the direction of the engine nozzles

This is the culmination of a huge project, ripe since 2005 for a cost of almost 110 millions of euros, which evaporates. But CNES scientists do not intend to continue this failure, the project to continue the Taranis mission is already under study.

The 17 November, Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of CNES announced in a press release: “The teams will immediately resume work to analyze, understand and correct the causes of this failure in order to restart the trip as quickly as possible.”

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Vega, launcher, rocket, European Space Agency, Arianespace, TARANIS, CNES

News – WITH – Satellite Taranis: Vega failed due to human error?


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