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MILAN, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Italy’s Avio said on Tuesday the Vega VV17 mission, carrying two satellites, failed due to a malfunctioning shortly after the rocket take-off, leading shares in the aerospace group to fall more than 20%.
The incident, which occurred on Monday night, comes after another failed launch in July 2019 when the vehicle carrying a United Arab Emirates satellite also experienced “an anomaly” leading to that mission’s failure. Other Vega launches had been successful.
Avio, which is the prime contractor for European launcher Vega, said that in the latest incident a problem caused a deviation of the trajectory eight minutes after take-off on Monday night.
The Vega VV17 had on board Spain’s SEOSAT-Ingenio observation satellite and the French TARANIS research satellite.
Data analyses are underway to clarify the reasons for the failed launch, Avio added.
By 1120 GMT, Avio shares were down 15.8%, having earlier fallen as much as 20%, compared with a 0.15% rise in Italy’s All-Share Index.
“A second anomaly in two years” might cause some more difficulties on the commercial side and delays in the final development and the maiden flight of the Vega C rocket, currently scheduled in the second quarter of 2021, Italian broker Equita said in a note, downgrading the stock to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’.
Satellite launch operator Arianespace said a press conference on the failed mission was scheduled for Tuesday at 1300 GMT. (Reporting by Cristina Carlevaro and Elisa Anzolin, editing by Louise Heavens)