Kepler Announces Successful Launch of Third Satellite

TARS satellite (Credit: Kepler Communications)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, September 3, 2020 (Kepler Communications PR) – Kepler’s Low Earth Orbit constellation expanded earlier today with the successful launch of its third satellite. This satellite, internally referred to as TARS, was launched onboard the Arianespace Vega SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) from the Guiana Space Centre at approximately 01:51 UTC, with communication established shortly thereafter.

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Arianespace Gives a Lift to the Smallsat Market with Vega’s SSMS Debut

Vega begins its ascent from the Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying CubeSats and microsatellites on a flight to validate Europe’s innovative Small Spacecraft Mission Service. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has realised the first European “rideshare” mission for small satellites, with 53 satellites onboard the Vega launcher for 21 customers.

With this new SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) shared launch concept, Arianespace demonstrates its ability to respond – in an innovative and competitive manner – to institutional and commercial requirements of the growing market for small satellites.

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Delayed Vega Launch Now Set for September 1

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 (ESA PR) — A new launch date of 1 September 2020 has been announced by Arianespace for Vega flight VV16.

Due to the persistence of exceptionally unfavourable winds at altitude over Europe’s Spaceport, Vega flight VV16, originally scheduled for 18 June 2020, was postponed, despite full availability of the launcher and the 53 satellites on this Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) mission.

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Watch Vega’s Rideshare Launch Live This Weekend

Shown during the SSMS payload integration process for Arianespace’s Flight VV16 is the ION CubeSat carrier – a platform that will deploy 12 CubeSats after being placed in orbit by the Vega launcher. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Subject to favourable weather conditions, the soonest possible launch date for the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) proof-of-concept flight is Sunday 21 June from 02:36 BST/03:36 CEST (20 June at 22:51 local time in Kourou).

Please check here for updates.

Tune in to ESA Web TV to watch the return to flight of Vega on its debut rideshare mission dedicated to light satellites.

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53 Smallsats Integrated for Vega’s First Rideshare Mission

Shown during the SSMS payload integration process for Arianespace’s Flight VV16 is the ION CubeSat carrier – a platform that will deploy 12 CubeSats after being placed in orbit by the Vega launcher. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — The 53 satellite passengers for Arianespace’s rideshare flight with its Vega light-lift launcher have been integrated at the Spaceport in French Guiana, marking a key milestone in preparation for the June 18 Proof of Concept mission with Europe’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS).

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Vega Inaugural Rideshare Mission Set for Launch

Editor’s Note: The launch is scheduled for June 19 at 0151 GMT (June 18 at 9:51 p.m. EDT).

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Multiple small satellites will be launched at once on the Vega VV16 mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This flight will demonstrate the modular SSMS dispenser resting on its upper stage intended to bring routine affordable launch opportunities for light satellites from 0.2 kg CubeSats up to 400 kg minisatellites.

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