Presenting the results of an inquiry into a European Vega rocket failure last month, officials said Friday that misleading instructions and inadequate preflight checks caused teams to overlook wrongly-installed cables on the launcher’s upper stage steering system. Arianespace aims to resume Vega launches before the end of March.
SpaceX’s final Falcon 9 launch of the year carried a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. SpaceX aborted a launch attempt Thursday morning to assess a second stage sensor reading, but the Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) Saturday. The rocket’s stage landed back at Cape Canaveral eight minutes later.