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Vega's upper stage called AVUM (Arianespace)

Arianespace's Vega launcher lifted off for the VV23 mission on 9 October from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

The main payloads of this mission were the THEOS-2 and FORMOSAT-7R/TRITON satellites, but it had also ten smaller satellites as secondary payloads. One of those was Estonian ESTCube-2, designed and made by the Estonian Student Satellite Foundation (mainly by students of Tartu University).

Arianespace published after the launch a press release confirming that the two primary payloads and eight of the ten secondary payloads had been deployed, but noted, that “the separation of the last 2 cubesats is still to be confirmed”.

Now it seems ESTCube-2 and ANSER-Leader Cubesats likely failed to separate from their deployers.

The Estonian team has tried with the radio amateur and CubeSat communities to listen to the ESTCube-2 signal while investigating possible failure scenarios. 

If the satellite hasn't been released from its deployer and is now destroyed with Vega's upper stage, there is sadly no need to continue these efforts. The upper stage was deorbited after the launch as a space debris mitigation procedure, as Arianespace does.

ESTCube-2 and its deployer

This is a big hit not only to our Estonian friends but also to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, which wanted finally to test the new electric solar sail that could be used also as a plasma brake that could be used for end-of-life satellite disposal.

Read more at European Spaceflight.