Arianespace has suffered a failure during Vega-Consolidation’s (Vega-C) first operational launch, which was set to carry the Pléiades Neo 5 and 6 Earth-observation satellites to a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). Vega-C lifted off from the Ensemble de Lancement Vega (ELV) pad at the Guiana Space Centre on Dec. 20 at 10:47 PM local time (01:47 UTC on Dec. 21).
Designated Vega Vehicle 22 (VV22), the rocket was the second Vega flight of the year and Arianespace’s fifth mission of 2022. VV22 was originally set to launch in November 2022, but a component in the upper composite in the payload fairing needed to be replaced. The launch failure occurred during stage 2 flight, with CEO Stephane Israel citing an “underpressure” indicated during that stage’s burn.