The launch of a European space rocket, which would have put Spain’s first satellite into orbit, has failed minutes after taking off and lost both satellites it was carrying.
As per reports, the Vega light launcher malfunctioned roughly eight minutes after launching from a space centre in Kourou, French Guiana.
Arianespace, the company which is overseeing the launch, said the space rocket took off at around 11 pm local time and slowed down before it encountered an unidentified “anomaly”. CEO Stephane Israel was quoted saying “the mission is lost” in a livestream to track the rocket.
It is unclear what caused the failure, but Arianespace said they were working to determine what went wrong.
Vega was supposed to place two satellites into orbit. Both of them were lost during the mission around 700km from Earth.
The mission would have launched Spain’s first Earth observation satellite for the European Space Agency (ESA). It would also have placed a French satellite into orbit Taranis that would have observed extremely bright electrical phenomena in the planet’s upper atmosphere.
The launch’s failure is the second in as many years.