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An image of a rocket under the Ariane project lifting off

SciShorts: European Rocket Ariane 5 Suffers a Major Setback

The Ariane 5 launched from French Guiana suffered a major error in its latest launch. The upper portion of the rocket fired the wrong way. Just nine minutes after the launch, the operators lost all contact with the rocket. Communication was then restored on the 25th of January after the payload was believed to be lost. The satellites the rocket carried, the SES-14 and Al Yah 3, managed to reach the targeted height of 45,000 km but their inclinations were wrong. The satellites were to be at an inclination of 3 degrees near the equator but instead they are at 20 degrees. The brains behind the project say that it will take a few years for the inclinations to be corrected. The Ariane 5, which has a perfect safety record till now, has been of great interest to NASA. The American space agency had plans to launch the much awaited James Webb telescope using the European-made rocket.  

Image Credit: ESA