Vega-C: Launcher Integration Begins for Inaugural Flight VV21

The Vega-C Interstage 1/2 has now been transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega) ZLV at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 22 April 2022. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique video du CSG/P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Launcher integration for the inaugural flight of Vega-C began with the P120C solid-fuel first stage being delivered to the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega, or ZLV) at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 15 April 2022. P120C will also fly on Ariane 6, with two or four units serving as boosters depending on mission requirements.

The interstage segment to join the P120C first stage with the Z40 second stage followed on the 22nd.

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ESA Books Ride for Sentinel-1C Satellite on Vega-C After Russian Soyuz Rocket Becomes Unavailable

Vega rocket in flight (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A contract signed with Arianespace secures the launch for the third Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. Scheduled to lift off on ESA’s new Vega-C rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in the first half of 2023, Sentinel-1C will continue the critical task of delivering key radar imagery for a wide range of services, applications and science – all of which benefit society.

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ESA Contract to Advance Vega-C Competitiveness

Vega configurations (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Vega-C launch vehicle will fly in the second quarter of 2022 offering more performance to all orbits and extended mission flexibility at a similar cost to the current Vega. A new contract aims to widen these mission capabilities to capture new opportunities and satisfy emerging market needs to 2027.

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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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Microgravity on Demand with Earth Return Through ESA’s Boost! Program

PARIS (ESA PR) — A new round-trip commercial space transportation service from 2022, backed by ESA, will enable companies to manufacture in space very pure and more capable materials, discover new pharmaceutical drugs and bring them back for use on Earth.

Space Forge, based in the UK, is working with partners to develop ForgeStar – a reusable suitcase-sized vehicle that can be lofted to space and which will return to Earth after an extended stay in low Earth orbit.

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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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Ariane 6 Launch Delayed to Second Quarter of 2022

Artist’s impression of Vega-C launcher in flight. (Credit: ESA-Jacky Huart)

Vega-C and Ariane 6 are being developed by ESA to assure Europe’s independent access to space. The maiden flight for Vega-C is planned to take place in June 2021, that for Ariane 6 for the second quarter of 2022.

PARIS (ESA PR) — Solid progress is being made on both Vega-C and Ariane 6 development programmes. Since March, some technical events and the COVID-19 pandemic have both impacted the progress of activities. Uncertainty from COVID-19 still persists globally to date.

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ESAIL Maritime Satellite Ready for Launch

The ESAIL satellite prior to encapsulation. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The ESAIL microsatellite for tracking ships worldwide – developed under an ESA Partnership Project – has completed its accommodation on Vega’s new dispenser for small satellites and is ready for launch. 

The Vega launch campaign at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, resumed three weeks ago, following an interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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ESA Ministers Commit to Biggest Ever Budget of $15.84 Billion

Credit: ESA

Ministers approved funding lunar Gateway, space station operations until 2030, Mars Sample Return and Hera asteroid missions

SEVILLE, Spain (ESA PR) — ESA’s Council at Ministerial Level, Space19+, has concluded in Seville, Spain, with the endorsement of the most ambitious plan to date for the future of ESA and the whole European space sector. The meeting brought together ministers with responsibility for space activities in Europe, along with Canada and observers from the EU.

The Member States were asked to approve a comprehensive set of programmes to secure Europe’s independent access to and use of space in the 2020s, boost Europe’s growing space economy, and make breakthrough discoveries about Earth, our Solar System and the Universe beyond, all the while making the responsible choice to strengthen the efforts we are making to secure and protect our planet.

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