Quote from: friendly3 on 09/01/2023 12:18 amThe return to flight of Vega-C won't happen before the end of 2024, coming from a reliable French source in Kourou.That late? One year from now?
The return to flight of Vega-C won't happen before the end of 2024, coming from a reliable French source in Kourou.
Quote from: ZachS09 on 09/01/2023 12:54 amQuote from: friendly3 on 09/01/2023 12:18 amThe return to flight of Vega-C won't happen before the end of 2024, coming from a reliable French source in Kourou.That late? One year from now?Yes, at best.I don't know more but my uneducated guess is that they found a design flaw in the Zefiro 40 second stage.
This actually makes Vega C irrelevant. What is the purpose of working for the next year on returning it to service in 2025 if Vega E flies in 2026.
<snip>This results in no Vega launches between 2024 and 2030 when the Vega F gets operational.European small launchers (ISAR Aerospace Spectrum, or RFA One) can launch some payloads. Others can be launched by Ariane 6 rideshare or other launch service providers.
The M10 engine and VUS stage for Vega E have a development timeline with a maiden launch NET 2026.New engine; new stage; thus delays are likely.Vega E is a further development of Vega C; it keeps the P120C(+) and Z40 stages. The problem lies with the Z40stage. A proposal could be:To halt Vega C and E development. Thus halt M10 development (after the second engine). Shelve the demo rocket. Halt a lot of side developments for the Vega Launchers.And end casting orbital solid stages in Italy. Focus on; and fast track the HTE/M60 engine development (start in 2024 in stead of 2026), as a second stage engine. With the HTE/M60 a two stage to orbit can be developed. Let's call it Vega F:With P120C(+) and a HTE/M60 powered second stage. Let Avio aim to get this operational before 2030. I think 200mln funded via the EU recovery fund should suffice.The next step would be replacement of P120C(+) with stage with multiple sea level HTE/M60 engines. That stage might become reusable. But is Avio capable of developing this, looking at their track record?This results in no Vega launches between 2024 and 2030 when the Vega F gets operational.European small launchers (ISAR Aerospace Spectrum, or RFA One) can launch some payloads. Others can be launched by Ariane 6 rideshare or other launch service providers.
...Preliminary results of the Zefiro 40 engine testOn June 28, a static ignition test of the Zefiro 40 engine (second stage of the Vega C launcher) was performed on schedule. This was required for the return to flight of Vega C after the flight anomaly suffered during the last VV22 launch in December 2022.Following the recommendations of the Independent Enquiry Commission on the VV22 mission anomaly, the test was carried out to qualify the performance of the engine with a new carbon-carbon material used for the nozzle throat insert. The test conditions were deliberately extremely severe in terms of maximum engine operating pressure, to demonstrate an extensive performance margin and ensure maximum flight reliability.Preliminary analysis of the test results - which are still being studied before final conclusions are reached, expected in late September - yielded the following results:The new carbon-carbon material exhibited nominal performance, which was very close to expectations. However, another anomaly was detected 40 seconds after the start of the test. This led to a reduction in the engineís overall pressure performance before the scheduled completion of the test at 97 seconds. This requires further investigation and testing by Avio and the European Space Agency to ensure optimal performance conditions.However, it remains reasonable to assume that the Zefiro 40 engine will need to be ground-tested again before returning to flight with the Vega C launcher. For H1 2023, the provision for risks for estimated costs to be borne by Avio to carry out an additional Zefiro 40 engine static ignition test was therefore included in non-recurring costs, as was the ESA support attributable to Avio as part of the wider principle of support for the return to flight of the Vega C launcher. This was confirmed by the ESA in March 2023.The Vega launcher is not affected by the performance of Zefiro 40, which is specific to Vega C. The next Vega launch remains scheduled for early October. Planning for Vega Cís return to flight is currently being assessed, pending further analysis and investigation as indicated above....