Analysis of space launch vehicle failures

In a time in which a significant number of launch vehicles are being developed, boosted by numerous new space actors demanding cheaper access to space, the need to ensure the reliability of launch vehicles is undeniable. Launch failures can have a big impact in both Earth and space environment. The first step to ensure the reliability of new launch vehicles is to analyse previous launch failures, learning from past mistakes. In this paper, the launch failures that occurred over the past 15 years will be analysed. These failures will be classified as a function of the subsystems involved in the failure, as well as the phase of the mission in which the failure occurred. As a result, the most critical subsystems can be identified for every mission phase. These subsystems should be the focus of new reliability modelling and improvement efforts. Moreover, the most critical  subsystem will be further investigated, and its most critical components identified. Therefore, the paper intends to provide an overview of the main causes for launch failures in the last years, aiming to guide future reliability efforts.


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