The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.
China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.
PARIS (Arianespace PR) — With Arianespace once again participating in the World Satellite Business Week (WSBW) event in Paris from September 9 to 13, the company continues to confirm the attractiveness of its launcher family, with nine new contracts signed since the beginning of the year – including Ariane 6’s maiden flight and the concluding payload contract for the SSMS demonstration flight on Vega (which is now fully booked). Arianespace’s backlog currently stands at 52 launches to be carried out by the Ariane 5/Ariane 6, Vega/Vega C and Soyuz vehicles.
PARIS (ESA PR) — The Independent Inquiry Commission, tasked with analysing the failure of Vega Flight VV15, submitted its findings on Wednesday, 4 September.
Co-chaired by the Inspector General of the European Space Agency (ESA); and the Senior Vice President, Technical and Quality of Arianespace; the Commission was appointed on Thursday, 11 July. According to its assigned task, after having analysed the flight data, the Commission identified possible causes for the anomaly and drew up recommendations for Vega to resume launches under the requisite conditions of safety, security and reliability.
SpaceNewsreports that Swiss Re has left the space insurance market due to losses.
Jan Schmidt, the head of Swiss Re’s space underwriting division, said in an email obtained by SpaceNews that the decision to “cease Space underwriting with immediate effect” was driven by “bad results of recent years and unsustainable premium rates.”
Schmidt emailed clients and brokers the same day Swiss Re board member Andreas Berger told Reuters the company is reducing its space exposure as part of a broader effort to stem losses in its corporate insurance divisions.
Swiss Re is the world’s second largest reinsurance company.
The failure of an European Vega rocket last month resulted in $407 million (369 million euros) in losses to the insurance industry. The United Arab Emirate’s Falcon Eye 1 satellite was lost in the failure.
That accident followed on the heels of a $183 million claim by Maxar Technologies after the WorldView-4 satellite failed in orbit.
PARIS, 11 July 2019 (ESA PR) — Arianespace announced today, 11 July, 2019, the failure of Flight VV15 carrying the FalconEye1 satellite. This was the first Vega failure after 14 successful launches in a row since being introduced at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana in 2012.
The Vega launch vehicle lifted off as scheduled on July 10, 2019 at 10:53 pm (local time in French Guiana). Approximately two minutes after the Vega launcher’s liftoff, shortly after ignition of the second stage (Zefiro 23), a launcher anomaly occurred – leading to the premature end of the mission.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace immediately decided to appoint an independent inquiry commission. This commission is tasked with analysing the reasons for the failure and defining the measures needed to ensure the resumption of Vega flights while fulfilling all requisite safety and security conditions. The inquiry commission is co-chaired by the Inspector General of ESA and the Senior Vice President, Technical and Quality of Arianespace.
Preparations for the next Ariane 5 launch are continuing at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s Spaceport.
PARIS (ESA PR) — More than 40 satellite missions will be launched at once by Europe’s Vega launcher this autumn, thanks to the innovative modular “Lego-style” dispenser resting on its upper stage.
Up until now the smallest classes of satellites – all the way down to tiny CubeSats, built from 10 cm modular boxes – have typically ‘piggybacked’ to orbit. They have to make use of any spare capacity as a single large satellite is launched, meaning their overall launch opportunities are limited.
MADRID, 20 May 2019 (ESA PR) — ESA and Arianespace have signed a contract that secure the SEOSAT–Ingenio Earth observation satellite’s ride into orbit next year on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
SEOSAT, short for Spanish Earth observation satellite, will provide high-resolution multispectral images of Earth for applications such as cartography, monitoring land use, urban management, water management, risk management and security.
PARIS (Avio PR) — Arianespace announced today that it has been selected by exactEarth to launch the ESAIL satellite using a Vega as part of the launcher’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept (POC) flight.
With a mass of 110 kg, ESAIL satellite produced by exactEarth, leading provider of global AIS solutions (Automatic Identification System), is the last passenger to get on board of the Vega’s POC flight, now completely booked with 42 payloads onboard, whose launch is scheduled for 2019 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The ESAIL satellite was supported by European Space Agency (ESA – ESTEC) through the ARTES 21 SAT-AIS (SATellite Automatic Identification System) program.
Vega’s POC flight will be the first mission for SSMS – a program initiated by ESA in 2016 with the contribution of the European Commission. For all European partners involved, its purpose is to perfectly address the burgeoning microsatellite market for both institutional and commercial needs with a new rideshare concept on the Vega light-lift launcher.
The industrial prime contractor for Vega is Avio, based in Colleferro, Italy.
KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace’s third mission of 2019 – which marked the Vega rocket’s 14th consecutive success – orbited the Italian PRISMA Earth observation satellite tonight, bringing the total number of spacecraft lofted by the launch services company to 600. It was the 308th flight overall of an Arianespace launcher.
The Italian Space Agency satellite will observe the Earth using a hyperspectral optical sensor, which can open up new scenarios for the control of the environmental processes of our planet
ROME (Leonardo PR) — We are getting closer to the launch of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) mission PRISMA (Hyperspectral Precursor and Application Mission). The satellite will lift off from the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana the night between 8 and 9 March, aboard a VEGA rocket.
From its orbit, at about 620 kilometers of altitude, PRISMA will observe the Earth on a global scale with different eyes, being equipped with an innovative electro-optical instrumentation. The Italian satellite will look at the planet with the most powerful operative hyperspectral instrument in the world, able to work in numerous, narrow and contiguous bands arranged from the visible to the near infrared (VNIR, Visible and Near InfraRed) and up to the infrared shortwave ( SWIR, Short Wave InfraRed).
PARIS (ESA PR) — This has been an intense year for Ariane 6 development, with progress boosted across Europe: plants are manufacturing new parts using novel methods, all engines have been tested, and the construction of launch facilities is well underway.
ESA has worked with an industrial network led by prime contractor ArianeGroup, of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including 350 small- and medium-sized enterprises, to fine-tune the design and start production. Meanwhile, France’s CNES space agency has been preparing its launch facilities at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
PARIS (ESA PR) — Vega is proving its reliability. Based on this heritage, ESA and European industry are building new elements that will increase Vega’s performance, capabilities and flexibility from mid-2019.
A proof of concept flight on Vega of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service is planned for mid-2019.
COLLEFERRO, Italy (Avio PR) – Today in Colleferro Avio successfully tested the prototype of the new M10 liquid oxygen-methane engine, developed by Avio in partnership with the European Space Agency within the Vega E (Vega Evolution) program. The prototype is a scaled model of the third stage propulsion engine which will equip the Vega launcher starting from 2024.
The following is a list of launches for the remainder of November based on Spaceflightnow.com’s Launch Schedule. The list includes two launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and one launch apiece from Xichang in China, Kourou in French Guiana, and Satish Dhawan in India.
Please check Spaceflightnow’s launch page regularly because launches tend to slip on a regular basis.
Editor’s Note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Monday has been postponed five or six days so engineers can conduct additional checks of the booster. The first stage is being flown for the third time.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B — SUCCESS Payload: 2 Beidou navigation satellites Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Xichang, China
Launch Vehicle: Vega Payload: Mohammed VI-B Earth observation satellite Launch Time: 8:42 p.m. EST on 20th (0142 GMT on 21st) Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana Webcast: http://www.esa.int
Launch Vehicle: PSLV Payload: HySIS hyperspectral imaging satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India Webcast: https://www.isro.gov.in/
Launch Vehicle: Delta 4-Heavy Payload: NROL-71 reconnaissance satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: https://www.ulalaunch.com/
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Spaceflight, Inc. SSO-A rideshare mission Launch Time: TBD Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: http://www.spacex.com
This flight will deploy more than 70 spacecraft from approximately 35 different organizations.