Satellite Insurance Rates Increasing After Failures of Vega, WorldView-4

Vega begins its ascent from the Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying Italy’s PRISMA Earth observation satellite on the third Arianespace mission of 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

Reuters reports that insurance rates are going up following the failure of an European Vega rocket that destroyed a very expensive United Arab Emirate’s military reconnaissance satellite last month.

The loss of the Falcon Eye 1 satellite will cost insurers $411.21 million (369 million euros), which is the highest recorded amount for an insured satellite, Reuters reported.

The Vega rocket carrying the satellite failed on July 10 due to an anomaly in its second stage. It was the first failure of the rocket in 15 launch attempts.

In January, the failure of Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-4 imaging satelite resulted in an $183 million insurance claim.

Reuters reports that insurance payouts of $600 million outpaced premiums paid by about $150 million last year.

The cost of insuring satellites had come down in recent years due to cheaper launch costs and better booster reliability.