After an unusual stretch of excessive high-altitude winds prevented launch from French Guiana of 53 small satellites on a Vega rocket in June — and no sign of a letup in winds in the coming days — Arianespace said Wednesday that the mission will be delayed to Aug. 17 to allow time for teams to recharge launcher and payload batteries.
After months of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Arianespace scrubbed back-to-back Vega launch attempts Saturday and Sunday due to unfavorable high-altitude winds over the European-run Guiana Space Center in South America. The Vega rocket is awaiting launch on a rideshare mission carrying 53 small satellites into orbit for 21 customers in 13 countries.
The head of Italian rocket-maker Avio said Thursday that preparations are proceeding without interruption for the launch of a Vega rocket later this month in French Guiana, but officials have adjusted work schedules at the company’s Vega manufacturing plant near Rome in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
After scrubbing a launch attempt Nov. 29 due to a problem with a second stage umbilical, Rocket Lab launched seven small satellites on an Electron booster from New Zealand at 3:18 a.m. EST (0818 GMT) Friday. The Electron rocket lifted off with an upgraded first stage carrying new hardware to control the rocket’s re-entry before teams attempt to catch the booster on future missions for refurbishment and reuse.