Vega > Launch operations
Vega missions are performed from a Spaceport launch site that previously was used for the Ariane 1 and 3 vehicles.
This facility – located 1 km. southwest of the Ariane 5 launch pad – has been updated and adapted to Vega's operational requirements, meeting the quality standards of Arianespace's Service & Solutions commercial offer.
Vega's three solid propellant stages and the bi-propellant liquid upper stage (called the AVUM - Attitude and Vernier Upper Module) are integrated vertically on the launch pad, and are protected during pre-launch activities by a mobile gantry. Loading of the upper stage's N2O4/UDMH propellant is handled through the launch pad's fixed umbilical mast.
The Vega's liftoff, ascent and primary trajectory is performed by the vehicle's three solid propellant stages, followed by up to five burns of the AVUM to reach the final orbit for payload deployment.
Typical mission profiles
Earth observation, scientific and meteorological satellites benefit from Vega's capability to deliver these payloads directly into Sun synchronous orbit (SSO), polar circular orbit, or circular orbits with varied inclinations.
On such flights, an initial AVUM burn provides the transfer to an intermediate elliptical orbit. This is followed by a second AVUM burn for orbit circularization, while a final AVUM burn is made for the stage's own reentry or orbit disposal. Typical mission duration for payload delivery to a 700-km. circular orbit is 1-1.5 hours.
The Vega AVUM's multiple burn capability also offers excellent flexibility to a wide range of elliptical orbits. For these missions, a typical flight profile begins with a sub-orbital ascent performed by Vega's three solid-propellant stages, followed by two or three burns of the AVUM.
An initial AVUM burn provides the transfer to an initial parking orbit, followed by a coast phase to a point corresponding to the targeted elliptical orbit's perigee. The AVUM's second burn is for the transfer to an intermediate elliptical orbit, and its third burn raises the perigee to the required value. In cases where a lower perigee altitude is required, the mission would be reduced to two AVUM burns.