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Vega March 4, 2013

Vega launcher integration continues for its April mission from the Spaceport

Vega’s Zefiro 9 stage is integrated on the launcher in these photos, beginning with its hoisting to the appropriate level of the ZLV launch site’s mobile gantry (photos at left). In the photos at right, the Zefiro 9 is positioned atop the Vega’s two lower stages.

The no. 2 Vega light-lift launcher has been fitted with its solid propellant third stage, marking another milestone in preparations for its April mission from French Guiana with a multi-satellite payload.

In the latest activity at the Spaceport’s ZLV launch site, Vega’s Zefiro 9 stage was installed atop its lower two solid propellant stages, which were stacked during previous integration activity.

This clears the way for a “top off” of the basic Vega launcher with its bi-propellant liquid upper stage Attitude and Vernier Upper Module, which performs the attitude control and axial thrust functions during the final stages of flight – enabling the payload to be placed in orbit.

The flight next month will carry the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1A and ESTCUBE-1 satellites, and follows Vega’s on-target maiden launch in February 2012 with a payload of nine spacecraft – which served as its qualification mission.

Created by Europe as a capable lightweight launcher, Vega is tailored to orbit small- to medium-sized satellites, including institutional and scientific spacecraft. It joins the two other members of Arianespace’s vehicle family: the medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5.

Vega resulted from a European Space Agency program led by Italy’s ASI space agency and industrial prime contractor ELV SpA.

Vega February 21, 2013

The light-lift member of Arianespace’s launcher family is readied for its second mission

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