explains the editor-in-chief of Espace & Exploration

explains the editor-in-chief of Espace & Exploration

The first commercial flight of the European Vega-C rocket ended in failure. Two monitoring satellites were to be put into orbit, but they stopped transmitting a few minutes after liftoff.

‘We’ll cut back on our launches’Marie-Ange Sangui, editor-in-chief of Espace & Exploration magazine, explains after the failure of the first commercial flight of the European Space Agency’s Vega-C rocket. The rocket was supposed to put two monitoring satellites into orbit, but three minutes after liftoff, the broadcast stopped. The tiny rocket’s trajectory deviated from that programmed, and telemetry stopped arriving at the control room at Kourou Space Center in French Guiana.

franceinfo: Why is this missile so important? ?

Marie-Ange Sangui: It’s our little European launcher. We’ve had three launchers depart from the Guyana Space Centre : Russian, Soyuz and Ariane 5. Since February, there is no Soyuz left, and we have only two flights left on Ariane 5. We are waiting for Ariane 6, which is not yet ready. With this failure, we will have a decline in our launches. At some point Ariane 5 will stop, Ariane 6 won’t be there and unfortunately Vega-C will be discontinued until we find out what happened.

These difficulties forced the European Space Agency to conclude contracts with American SpaceX. Does this agreement undermine European sovereignty? ?

Yes, of course, but you know, we can’t store satellites and probes, because there are batteries, there’s old equipment, so it has to be removed. So instead of losing all the work that so many people have done on these probes and these satellites, we’re going with the available launch pads. So yes, it is a little painful to send probes and satellites through the Americans, but for the choice, it is better to send them than to lose them.

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Why is it important to continue sending these satellites ?

These are the satellites that allow us to observe the Earth, and there, we can observe up to 30 cm away. It’s massive! And above all, these are European satellites, so it is our sovereignty, but also our independence that is at stake. Having our own satellites to observe the Earth in a very accurate way is important so that we are not dependent on others.

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