Latest Vega Launch Paves Way for Vega-C

Launch of Vega VV20 on 16 November 2021, from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying three CERES Earth observation satellites. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Arianespace announced liftoff of Vega’s twentieth flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana at 9:27 GMT (10:27 CET; 06:27 local time). Vega delivered three CERES payloads for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.

Each payload is equipped with high-performance sensors. Flying in formation in low Earth orbit, they will offer all-weather observation, daily revisit frequency, and can collect data enabling the characterisation and location of transmitters.

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Ten Years of Soyuz Launches at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana

Launch of VS01, first Soyuz ST-B flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, on 21 October 2011, carrying the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — On 21 October 2011, the first pair of Galileo navigation satellites was launched by a Russian-built Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The introduction of Russia’s Soyuz 2 rocket to Europe’s Spaceport was a milestone of strategic cooperation in the space transportation sector between Europe and the Russian Federation, and an exciting new opportunity for ESA.

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Italian Space Agency Shifts Satellite Launch From Vega-C to SpaceX Falcon 9

COSMO SkyMed satellite (Credit: ASI)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Citing delays with Europe’s new Vega-C rocket, two Vega booster failures and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) has shifted the launch of the second COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG-2) Earth observation satellite to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

“The delays, postponing the Vega-C Maiden Flight to Q1 2022, with a consequent tight schedule of launches in 2022, made the  launch period of CSG-2 no longer compatible with the needs of the COSMO Mission. Since Arianespace backlog was already full on Soyuz and Ariane systems in 2021, it was not possible to have a European back-up solution compliant with the CSG-2 schedule, thus an alternative solution with the US provider SpaceX has been adopted allowing to keep the CSG-2 launch within the current year,” ASI said on its website.

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ESA Council Agrees Resolution on Ariane 6 and Vega-C Exploitation and Future Space Transportation

Artist’s view of the European launcher family. Shown from left to right: Ariane 5, Vega, the two-booster Ariane 6 (A62), Vega-C, the four-booster Ariane 6 (A64). (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA Member States have agreed upon the boundary conditions for Europe’s upcoming exploitation of Ariane 6 and Vega-C and request ESA to propose a roadmap for new and innovative space transportation solutions for the next decade and a framework for associated short cycle demonstrations.

The Resolution agreed upon by ESA Member States mid-August sets the conditions for the first three years of stabilised exploitation of Europe’s new launch vehicles, Ariane 6 and Vega-C at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. 

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Arianespace’s Launches 5 Satellites on Vega Rocket

Vega lifts off on Aug. 16, 2021 (Credit: Arianespace)
  • On August 16, Arianespace launched the 19th Vega mission (VV19), its 7th successful launch of the year.
  • This launch orbited Pléiades Neo 4, the second very high-resolution satellite of the new Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation satellite constellation.
  • Four innovative cubesats were also deployed for ESA and Unseenlabs.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — On Monday, August 16, 2021 at 10:47 pm local time (01:47 am (UTC) on Thursday, August 17), a Vega launch vehicle operated by Arianespace lifted off successfully from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). This mission marked Arianespace’s 7th successful launch of the year and the second with Vega in 2021. It lasted one hour, 44 minutes and 59 seconds during which Pléiades Neo 4 separated on a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 625 km while the four auxiliary payloads separated at 551 kilometers.

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Arianespace’s 19th Vega Mission to Orbit Airbus Defence and Space’s Pléiades Neo 4 Earth Observation Satellite, 4 Scientific Auxiliary Spacecraft

Vega launches on April 28, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Arianespace’s upcoming Vega launch, scheduled for August 16, 2021, will orbit Pléiades Neo 4, the second very high-resolution satellite part of the new Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation constellation.
  • Vega Flight 19 (VV19) will also deploy four scientific spacecraft: three to the benefit of the European Space Agency (ESA) and one for the start-up Unseenlabs.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — On Monday, August 16, 2021 at 10:47 pm local time (01:47 am (UTC) on Tuesday, August 17), Arianespace’s second Vega mission of the year will lift off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, with the optical observation satellite Pléiades Neo 4 and four auxiliary passengers.

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ESA Advances Vega Rocket Evolution Beyond 2025

The 3D-printed thrust chamber assembly of the methane-fuelled M10 rocket engine passed its first series of hot firing tests at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in the USA during February 2020. The M10 engine will power the upper stage of future Vega evolutions from 2025. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

FRASCATI, Italy (ESA PR) — ESA will further increase the competitiveness and environmental sustainability of Europe’s Vega launch system beyond 2025 through a contract signed with Avio in Italy.

Vega operates from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana to launch light satellites to one or multiple orbits in a single launch. This contract takes Vega a step further and marks the start of a new phase in preparation of a new Vega launch vehicle called Vega-E, which will make extensive use of Vega-C building blocks.

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Launch 2020: Europe’s Ambitions Frustrated by Pandemic, Booster Failure

The Ariane 5 for Flight VA251 departs the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone with its EUTELSAT KONNECT and GSAT-30 satellite passengers. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Last year was a tough one for Europe in terms of launches. The COVID-19 pandemic closed the Guiana Space Centre for extended periods. And the most troubled of the three rockets launched from the spaceport had another bad day.

Despite the problems, there were seven launches from French Guiana in 2020, with six successes and one failure. Five of the flights involved European rockets, and two others were Russian Soyuz boosters.

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Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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Avio Purchases 10 Additional Ukrainian Engines for Vega Launcher’s Upper Stage

Vega launches on April 28, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

DNIPRO, Ukraine (Yuzhnoye PR) — Yuzhnoye Design Office and the Italian company Avio have reached an agreement on the additional purchase of 10 Ukrainian-made engines for the Vega launch vehicle for a total of almost 6 million euros [$7.2 million]. 

The Italian side reaffirmed its readiness to expand cooperation on April 28. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the agreement reached by the joint efforts of representatives of the Ukrainian rocket and space industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. 

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18th Vega Mission Marks Arianespace’s Second Successful Launch in 72 Hours

Vega launches on April 28, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • On April 28, Arianespace launched the 18th Vega mission (VV18), its second success in less than 72 hours and third of the year for the European launch services company.
     
  • This launch orbited Pleiades Neo 3, the first satellite in the new very-high-resolution Earth observation constellation operated by Airbus, as well as five innovative small satellites using the advanced SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) system.
     
  • Vega’s successful return to flight followed the recommendations issued by the Independent Inquiry Commission for Vega mission VV17, organized by Arianespace and ESA and implemented by Avio.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — On Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 10:50 pm local time (01:50 UTC on Thursday, April 29), a Vega launch vehicle operated by Arianespace lifted off successfully from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). This mission marked Vega’s return to flight, and was also the second successful launch by Arianespace’s teams in less than 72 hours.

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Delta IV Heavy, Chinese Space Station Launches on Tap for This Week

A Delta IV Heavy launches the NROL-44 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

The month of April is concluding with a string of launches from Russia, the United States, China and South America. Things kicked off on Friday with SpaceX’s launch of Crew-2 to the International Space Station (ISS). On Sunday, a Russian Soyuz rocket launched 36 OneWeb satellite broadband spacecraft from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

One of the final United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rockets is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday afternoon. That flight will be followed by the fifth launch of China’s Long March 6 booster. Launches by Europe’s Vega and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are scheduled over the next two days.

China will close out the month on Thursday by launching Tianhe-1 core module for that nation’s first permanent space station aboard a Long March 5B booster.

The full schedule for the week is below.

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Arianespace Offers a Ticket into Space to a Startup or Lab

  • Arianespace is launching a contest for satellite projects by space technology startups, labs or universities, in conjunction with the Viva Technology 2021 (VivaTech) innovation show.
  • The winner will get a free launch of their satellite on an Arianespace rideshare mission.
  • The main selection criterion will be the satellite’s mission, which should improve life on Earth or advance human knowledge.

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace, the European launch services company, is Arianespace, the European launch services company, is organizing a contest in conjunction with the VivaTech international innovation show. First prize will be a spot on a rideshare mission operated by Arianespace, to orbit the winning cubesat-sized satellite.

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Spaceflight Inc. Signs Multiple Launch Agreements to Start 2021, Leveraging Its Success Managing Both “Bus and Taxi” Smallsat Launches

SHERPA (Spaceflight Inc.)

Company reveals more dedicated launches, propulsive OTVs, and GTO/lunar missions to satisfy growing demand for flexible and comprehensive launch services

SEATTLE, March 3, 2021 (Spaceflight Inc.) — Spaceflight Inc., the global launch services provider, announced it has started the year by signing several significant launch agreements with a wide range of organizations, including growing constellations needing routine and reliable launch schedules, smaller payloads requiring affordable bus-like options to popular orbits, firms needing regulatory and logistical guidance, as well as those seeking a personalized taxi service from loading dock to final orbital destination.

Organizations that recently signed launch deals with Spaceflight include Lynk, Astro Digital, Kleos, BlackSky, Umbra, Orbit Fab and several undisclosed U.S. government payloads.

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