Spain’s hope of placing its first satellite into orbit took a hit after the Vega Light Launcher failed just a few minutes after taking off. The Vega, a European space rocket, lost both the satellites it was carrying, news agency AFP reported the operator as saying. Vega was supposed to place the two satellites around 700 kilometers from Earth. The launcher malfunctioned roughly eight minutes after launching from a space center in Kourou, French Guiana.
It is unclear what caused the failure, but Arianespace said they were working to determine what went wrong. The mission would have launched Spain’s first Earth observation satellite for the European Space Agency (ESA). It would also have placed into orbit Taranis, a French satellite that would have observed extremely bright electrical phenomena in the planet’s upper atmosphere. The launch’s failure is the second in as many years.