Vega, Falcon 9 Rockets Set to Orbit More than 100 Satellites

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)

Arianespace’s Vega and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are set to launch a combined 113 satellites this week.

Vega is scheduled for launch on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 9:51:10 p.m. EDT (01:51:10 a.m. UTC on Sept. 2) from Kourou, French Guiana. You can view the launch on Arianespace’s YouTube channel.

For its sixth mission in 2020 and the first Vega flight of the year, Arianespace will orbit 53 satellites on the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept (PoC) flight, performed on behalf of 21 customers.

For Flight VV16, the launcher will carry seven microsatellites (from 15 kg to 150 kg) on the upper portion, along with 46 smaller CubeSats on the lower portion’s Hexamodule.

SpaceX is targeting Thursday, September 3 at 8:46 a.m. EDT (12:46 UTC) for launch of its twelfth Starlink mission, which will place 60 Starlink satellites to orbit.

SpaceX will webcast the launch starting 15 minutes before liftoff on its website.

Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 14 minutes after liftoff. 

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported launch of the GPS III Space Vehicle 03 mission in June 2020. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.