The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace have postponed Vega’s second flight from French Guiana by one day to perform additional checks on the mobile gantry at the lightweight vehicle’s Spaceport launch complex.
This delay will allow verifications of the gantry’s mobility system. During preparations for a typical Vega flight, the mobile gantry is moved onto the launch pad – offering protection from the weather, and providing proper working conditions for team members as they assemble the launcher and integrate its payload. Prior to liftoff, the gantry is rolled back 80 meters to a parked position.
The May 3 mission is set to begin at exactly 11:06:31 p.m. local time in French Guiana, carrying a three-passenger payload: Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1.
Proba-V is a 160-kg. spacecraft for the European Space Agency, produced by QinetiQ Space Belgium, designed to map land cover and global vegetation growth across the Earth every two days and carries an updated version of the Vegetation instrument.
Vietnam’s VNREDSat-1 was built by Astrium on behalf of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) and this 120-kg. optical satellite will support the country’s initiative to create an infrastructure that enables better studies of climate change effects.
The mission’s third passenger, Estonia’s ESTCube-1 student nanosatellite, was produced by a collaboration of students from the Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology, Tartu University and the University of Life Sciences – and developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR). It will test electric solar wind sail technologies and help establish an Estonian infrastructure for future space projects.