ESA to Publish Vega C Test Z40 Test Failure Findings This Week

ESA to Publish Vega C Test Z40 Test Failure Findings This Week

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An ESA Independent Inquiry Commission established to investigate the failure of the Vega C Zerfiro 40 (Z40) static fire test will report its findings before the end of the week.

The first commercial flight of the Vega C launch vehicle failed in December 2022. A subsequent investigation found that the over-erosion of the vehicle’s Z40 solid rocket motor’s throat insert was the cause. This led to Vega rocket builders Avio replacing the insert with one supplied by ArianeGroup.

On 28 June 2023, Avio conducted a static fire test of the updated Z40 motor, which failed 40 seconds after ignition. Although Avio declined to comment on the cause of the failure when it was announced a day later, the company did state that the new throat insert had “showed a nominal performance.”

Following the failure of the test, ESA established an Independent Inquiry Commission chaired by the agency’s Inspector General, Giovanni Colangelo.

During a September 4 Ariane 6 development update briefing, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher explained that the results of the independent inquiry would be published before the end of September. In response to questions from European Spaceflight, an ESA spokesperson confirmed that the results will be published before the end of this week. The publishing of the result will be followed by a briefing.

Regardless of the result, Vega C will not return to flight in 2023. Avio confirmed as much in the company’s 2023 half-year results, which the company published earlier this month.

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