Vega’s third stage is integrated for a summer mission with Europe’s Sentinel-2A satellite
The “stacking” of Vega’s solid propellant propulsion systems is complete with integration of its Zefiro 9 third stage at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
This activity took place at the Spaceport’s ZLV launch site inside a protective mobile gantry, where the Zefiro 9 was placed atop Vega’s two other solid propellant stages: the Zefiro 23 second stage and the P80 first stage.
The next step will be Vega’s “top off” with its bi-propellant liquid upper stage, called the AVUM (Attitude and Vernier Upper Module).
Vega’s summer mission will loft the Sentinel-2A payload, which is the latest in Europe’s series of Earth observation satellites for the Copernicus initiative – led by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency. The goal of Copernicus is to provide accurate, timely and easily-accessible information for improving management of the environment, as well as understanding and mitigating climate change effects, while also contributing to civil security.
The 1,140-kg.-class Sentinel-2A spacecraft is well suited for Arianespace’s lightweight Vega, which was conceived as a capable lightweight launcher in the company’s complete family – complementing its other two vehicles: the medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5.
Vega’s development was performed in a European program led by Italy’s ASI space agency and industrial prime contractor ELV SpA.