Europe’s new Vega-C rocket was lost shortly after lift-off from French Guiana overnight with two satellites on board, in the latest blow to European space efforts. The failure on Tuesday night threatens to ground the Vega-C, which would leave Europe without a short-term way to launch satellites into orbit after delays to the Ariane 6 rocket and cancelled Russian cooperation over the Ukraine war. The rocket had been trying to bring into orbit two Earth observation satellites built by Airbus, which were intended to join an existing network capable of capturing high-quality images of any point on the globe several times a day. If it had been successful, it would have been the first commercial launch of the Vega-C since its inaugural flight on July 13. “The mission is lost,” Stephane Israel, head of commercial launch service provider Arianespace, said from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana, a French department on South America’s northeast coast. Ten minutes after lift-off, at 10:47 pm local time (0147 GMT Wednesday), the launcher’s trajectory deviated from its programmed route and communications were lost, Arianespace said. An “anomaly occurred” in the second stage of the launcher, “ending the Vega-C mission”, the company said. The rocket was launched over the Atlantic Ocean and had shot past 100 kilometres (62 miles) altitude and was more than 900 kilometres north of Kourou.