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ESA attributes Vega-C launch failure to faulty nozzle from the Ukraine

The European Space Agency (ESA) has concluded that the launch failure of the second stage of Arianespace’s Vega-C rocket on December 20, 2022 was caused by a faulty nozzle produced by a company in the Ukraine.

[T]he Commission confirmed that the cause was an unexpected thermo-mechanical over-erosion of the carbon-carbon (C-C) throat insert of the nozzle, procured by Avio in Ukraine. Additional investigations led to the conclusion that this was likely due to a flaw in the homogeneity of the material.

The anomaly also revealed that the criteria used to accept the C-C throat insert were not sufficient to demonstrate its flightworthiness. The Commission has therefore concluded that this specific C-C material can no longer be used for flight. No weakness in the design of Zefiro 40 has been revealed. Avio is implementing an immediate alternative solution for the Zefiro 40’s nozzle with another C-C material, manufactured by ArianeGroup, already in use for Vega’s Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9 nozzles.

The press release goes to great length to reassure everyone that these Ukrainian nozzles are still flightworthy, that the fix is merely changing the material used in the nozzle’s throat insert.

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  • Ray Van Dune

    FYI: December 20, 2023 is in future.

  • Ray Van Dune: Thank you. Typo fixed.

  • Jeff Wright

    They hate it when you say ‘the Ukraine’ as if it were a region, not a country—;}

  • Jeff Wright wrote, “They hate it when you say ‘the Ukraine’…”

    And I should care?

  • Robert Pratt

    Yep, and to Russia it IS just a region, their region. I prefer and use the proper Ukraine without “the” as it is a nation state. But I’m also with Bob on who cares. It’s a bit like Canadians whining about “Americans” meaning us USA folk.

  • Of course, no one cares about calling the Netherlands THE Netherlands or the Hague THE Hague, two examples that instantly come to mind. If I put some thought into it I am sure there are other nations that are referred to in the same way.

  • Andi

    The Philippines?

  • BLSinSC

    I guess they can’t manufacture correctly and run a WAR at the same time! That said, aren’t VITAL COMPONENT TESTED before risking a “failed launch”??

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