Ukrainian government criticizes Vega C investigation

WASHINGTON — The Ukrainian authorities claims that European investigators have been “untimely” in concluding {that a} part from a Ukrainian firm was the blame for the failed Vega C launch final December.

In a March 6 statement, the State Area Company of Ukraine took challenge with the findings of an investigation published by the European Space Agency three days earlier, arguing that it “casts a shadow over the fame of the house trade of Ukraine.”

That investigation into the failed Dec. 20 launch of the Vega C concluded {that a} part known as a throat insert within the nozzle of the rocket’s second-stage Zefiro-40 motor eroded greater than anticipated. That brought about a drop in stress and lack of thrust within the second stage that doomed the launch.

The throat insert, made from carbon-carbon materials supposed to resist excessive temperatures, was produced by Ukrainian firm Yuzhnoye. Testing of that materials throughout the investigation discovered larger porosity not detected in earlier testing. That investigation concluded the Yuzhnoye part may now not be used on the Zefiro-40, and Avio, the prime contractor for the Vega, introduced it could as an alternative use one produced by ArianeGroup.

The State Area Company of Ukraine acknowledged that it “believes that the introduced conclusions stay to be untimely and should still require additional investigation to determine if there could possibly be further components that led to the failure of Vega C.” It famous that the elements provided by Yuzhnoye “have been fully compliant with the necessities imposed.”

On the March 3 briefing in regards to the investigation, officers acknowledged the problem was with how the inserts have been examined. “The acceptance standards weren’t the proper ones,” stated Giovanni Colangelo, ESA inspector normal and a co-chair of the unbiased investigation board. The problem was not seen in floor assessments of the Zefiro-40, or on Vega C’s inaugural launch final July, as a result of the elements exceeded necessities, whereas the throat insert used on the failed launch was “precisely in keeping with specification,” he stated.

“Ukrainian specialists who participated in a sure a part of investigation which they have been granted entry to, offered their issues and recommendations that objectively didn’t discover reflection within the conclusions of the Impartial Enquiry Fee,” the Ukrainian house company acknowledged.

It requested ESA and the businesses concerned “to carry out further evaluation and issues that will take note of different potential components in addition to recommendations diligently proposed by the Ukrainian consultants.” It didn’t elaborate on the recommendations it stated these Ukrainian consultants provided.

It added that the findings of the investigation “sadly leaves no grounds for additional discussions and casts a shadow over the fame of the house trade of Ukraine.”

The house trade, like different sectors of the Ukrainian financial system, has suffered considerably since Russia’s invasion greater than a yr in the past. Factories have been targets of assault whereas provide chains have been disrupted.

“Even below situations of the conflict the Ukrainian house trade continues to treasure its picture of the dependable companion on the earth house market and makes each effort to assist it with well timed supply of the providers and merchandise of the top quality to our worldwide companions,” the State Area Company of Ukraine acknowledged.

Within the briefing, Giulio Ranzo, chief government of Avio, stated the issue with the throat insert was not linked to the conflict, because it was manufactured earlier than the invasion. Nevertheless, he advised earlier manufacturing challenges linked to the pandemic may have been a difficulty.

The throat insert will not be the one Ukrainian part on the Vega C. The rocket’s liquid-propellant AVUM higher stage makes use of an engine produced by Yuzhmash, and after the invasion European officers stated they have been working to stockpile the engine and take into account alternate options if the availability of the engine was lower off.

Nevertheless, Ranzo stated Avio has not had any points getting the AVUM engines. “Throughout the conflict interval, AVUM deliveries have continued as deliberate, so for this I can solely thank the Ukrainian provider for his or her dedication below a really, very tough scenario.”

Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s director of house transportation, stated the company was working to rely much less on suppliers exterior of the company’s member states for Vega. “We have now considerably elevated the European content material” on the rocket, discovering European suppliers for elements akin to tanks and thrusters that had come from america and Russia. The aim, he stated, was to “make a great European product based mostly on European industrial suppliers.”


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