Defense/R&D

European rocket carrying Spanish and French satellites worth $370 crashed

A European rocket carrying Spanish and French satellites worth $370 million crashed shortly after its launch early Tuesday, as reported by aa.com.

This incident is a hard blow for countries that lost satellites, the European Space Agency and for Arianespace, the European manufacturer of the Vega rocket.

Vega rockets, launching satellites into orbit, have failed on two of their last three missions.

The last failure occurred in July 2019. That time a rocket was carrying a military spy satellite for the United Arab Emirates.

The latest rocket was launched late Monday from French Guyana and continued for eight minutes, after which it got off course. The launch team lost control of the rocket. The company’s statement specify that it may fall onto an uninhabited area.

It was carrying Spain’s SEOSAT-Ingenio satellite, able to take detailed photos of the earth up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) wide.

Its images may have been used by researchers in studying climate change and land use, monitoring disasters and for military purposes, according to Spain’s Science Ministry.

It was owned by the Spanish government and was worth €200 million ($237 million).

There was also the French TARANIS satellite onboard. It was developed to help researchers learn more about transient luminous events — mysterious electrical discharges, often red and blue flashes, that can be seen above thunderstorms.

The French Space Agency (CNES) is said to spend $136 million on the project.

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