Arianespace Fills Up Vega Small Spacecraft Mission Proof of Concept Flight

Vega begins its ascent from the Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying Italy’s PRISMA Earth observation satellite on the third Arianespace mission of 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (Avio PR) — Arianespace announced today that it has been selected by exactEarth to launch the ESAIL satellite using a Vega as part of the launcher’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept (POC) flight.

With a mass of 110 kg, ESAIL satellite produced by exactEarth, leading provider of global AIS solutions (Automatic Identification System), is the last passenger to get on board of the Vega’s POC flight, now completely booked with 42 payloads onboard, whose launch is scheduled for 2019 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The ESAIL satellite was supported by European Space Agency (ESA – ESTEC) through the ARTES 21 SAT-AIS (SATellite Automatic Identification System) program.

Vega’s POC flight will be the first mission for SSMS – a program initiated by ESA in 2016 with the contribution of the European Commission. For all European partners involved, its purpose is to perfectly address the burgeoning microsatellite market for both institutional and commercial needs with a new rideshare concept on the Vega light-lift launcher.

The industrial prime contractor for Vega is Avio, based in Colleferro, Italy.