Vega is cleared for Arianespace’s March 6 liftoff with Sentinel-2B
Arianespace’s third flight of 2017 has been approved for its March 6 evening liftoff from French Guiana following today’s Launch Readiness Review for the lightweight Vega mission to Sun-synchronous orbit with Europe’s Sentinel-2B Earth observation satellite.
The review, performed at the Spaceport in French Guiana, confirmed the “go” status of the four-stage Vega and its 1,130-kg. Sentinel-2B payload, along with the Spaceport’s launch site infrastructure and the network of trajectory-following tracking stations.
All is now set for a liftoff at precisely 10:49:24 p.m. local time in French Guiana (1:49:24, Universal Time – UTC on March 7) for a mission lasting 57 minutes, 57 seconds.
Designated Flight VV09 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, this will be the ninth with Vega since its Spaceport introduction in February 2012, and is one of up to 12 missions planned by the launch services company during 2017. Previous flights this year were a heavy-lift launch with Ariane 5 on February 14, which placed the SKY Brasil-1 and Telkom 3S relay satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO); and a medium-lift Soyuz launch on January 27 that delivered Europe’s first “SmallGEO” relay platform, Hispasat 36W-1, into GTO.
Vega’s mission to Sun-synchronous orbit
After its deployment by Vega on Flight VV09, Sentinel-2B will operate at an altitude of approximately 786 km., with a design lifetime of seven-plus years. The spacecraft is equipped with a multispectral, wide-swath, high-resolution optical imaging instrument, with the primary goal of monitoring land masses and coastal zones around the world. Data collected by Sentinel-2B is to be used for applications involving the monitoring of vegetation, soil types and habitats.
Sentinel-2B is the fourth Copernicus program satellite to be orbited by Arianespace, following the successful launch of Sentinel-1A on a Soyuz in April 2014, the lofting of Sentinel-2A aboard a Vega in June 2015, and the deployment of Sentinel-1B by a Soyuz in April 2016.
The development of Sentinel-2B results from a close collaboration involving the European Space Agency, the European Commission, service providers and data users. A consortium of companies led by Airbus designed the mission and built the spacecraft, supported by the French CNES space agency and the DLR German Aerospace Center.
More details on Vega Flight VV09 are available in the launch kit: