Arianespace Targets Small Payloads with New Vega Launcher Order from ELV

By Caleb Henry | November 21, 2013 | Europe, Government, Launch, Regional, Satellite TODAY News Feed, ST Briefs

[Via Satellite 11-21-13] Arianespace has ordered 10 Vega rockets from the Italian manufacturer European Launch Vehicle, to be ready for launch starting at the end of 2015. They follow the original Vega launcher used for the qualification flight, and the five Vega launchers already ordered in 2010 within the scope of the VERTA contract. The additional launchers will cover more than three years of operations.

ESA, ELV and Arianespace also signed an agreement defining the general framework for this activity, and the sharing of risks and responsibilities during this initial operational phase for the Vega launch system.

“We are addressing a growing demand for services by a light launcher, especially for Earth observation,” said Stéphane Israël, president of Arianespace.

Vega is operated alongside the Ariane 5 heavy launcher and the Soyuz medium launcher as part of the Arianespace family of launchers at the Guiana Space Center. Vega is suited to launch small scientific and Earth observation satellites into low or Sun-synchronous orbit.

Arianespace is the launch system operator during the operational phase, with responsibility for the marketing and sale of launch services and as prime contractor for launch operations. ELV is the industrial prime contractor for the Vega launcher. Avio owns 70 percent of ELV, with the remaining 30 percent owned by the Italian Space Agency.