The Italian aerospace company Avio said that a defective carbon part that it had purchased in Ukraine for use in an Arianespace satellite launch in December was probably to blame for the launch’s failure. The company released the investigation’s findings on Friday.
On December 20, an anomaly with the Zefiro 40 rocket motor caused an Arianespace mission carrying two Airbus Defence & Space satellites to fail around two and a half minutes into the flight.
A independent inquiry commission was immediately established by Arianespace to look into the situation.
In a statement, Arianespace stated that the rocket motor that powers the second stage of its brand-new Vega C rocket, which is used to launch satellites into orbit, has no design flaws.
The company stated that the cause was an unexpected thermo-mechanical over-erosion of the carbon/carbon (C/C) composite that made up the nozzle throat insert and was purchased by Avio in Ukraine. There were no more details provided.
According to Arianespace, this specific composite material is no longer allowed in aircraft.
One of the partners in Arianespace, a competitor of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is Avio (AVI.MI). An Airbus (AIR.PA) and Safran joint venture owns the majority of the business (SAF.PA).