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.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 12:17 p.m. EST (9:17 a.m. PST; 1717 GMT) Saturday with an oceanography satellite jointly developed by U.S. and European space and weather agencies. The rocket’s first stage booster returned to a bullseye landing back at Vandenberg.
European Space Agency member states on Thursday committed nearly 12.5 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to fund ESA programs over the next three years, promising money to grow Europe’s fleet of satellites studying Earth’s changing climate, contribute to NASA-led lunar exploration efforts, and continue ESA’s participation in the International Space Station until 2030.