Europe’s Vega-C rocket return to flight delayed to Q4 2024; 2nd stage nozzle redesign ordered after static-test failure

by Peter B. de Selding

LA PLATA, Maryland — A key June 28 test firing of Europe's Vega-C rocket second stage failed because a hardware switch — made in response to the vehicle’s December 2022 launch failure — caused neighboring components to buckle, an independent review board concluded.

In what appears to be a classic case of how changing one element of a dynamic environment can cause unplanned reactions elsewhere, the review board said the carbon-carbon nozzle’s new skirt was changed without sufficient verification of its effect on overall nozzle design.

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