Arianespace will convene an independent inquiry board chaired by a top European Space Agency official to investigate why an Ariane 5 rocket flew off course Thursday night after liftoff from French Guiana with the SES 14 and Al Yah 3 telecom satellites, but both payloads will be salvaged to accomplish their planned missions, officials said Friday.
A European Ariane 5 rocket took off from French Guiana and delivered two commercial communications satellites and a NASA scientific package to orbit Thursday after an unexpected radio blackout raised worries that the mission failed. But questions lingered early Friday about the accuracy of the payload deployments.
A European Ariane 5 rocket delivered two commercial communications satellites to orbit Thursday after Arianespace’s ground team lost telemetry from the launcher during its climb into orbit, raising concerns that the mission might have failed. The SES 14 and Al Yah 3 satellites are confirmed in orbit and healthy, but the parameters of their orbits are unknown. Both were heading toward 22,000-mile-high geostationary perches over the equator.
NASA and the U.S. Air Force are expected to return to normal operations Tuesday after lawmakers passed a budget bill Monday evening, ending a government funding lapse that threatened to cut off live television coverage of an International Space Station spacewalk and interrupt SpaceX launch operations in Florida and California.
Pioneering spacecraft from NASA and the Japanese space agency promise to reveal two unexplored asteroids later this year, officials said Wednesday, beginning surveys that will culminate in daring descents to capture samples for return to Earth, where eager scientists await a hands-on look at the specimens.