Vega is cleared for its September 15 launch with a multi-satellite payload
The seventh Vega mission from French Guiana has been authorized for liftoff tomorrow following completion of its launch readiness review, which was conducted today at the Spaceport.
This assessment – held prior to each flight of an Arianespace launcher family member – confirmed that the lightweight vehicle and its multi-passenger payload are flight-ready, along with the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.
Tomorrow’s mission is designated VV07 in Arianespace’s numbering system, and it will be performed from the Spaceport’s SLV launch site – where the Vega was assembled and now stands in a flight-ready configuration, protected by a mobile gantry that will be withdrawn prior to liftoff.
Flight VV07 will mark Arianespace’s seventh of 11 missions targeted in 2016, and is the company’s first this year using a Vega launcher – which is one of three launch vehicles operated by Arianespace at the Spaceport, along with the medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5. Vega’s production prime contractor is ELV, a company created by Avio and the Italian Space Agency.
A Vega launch for the U.S. and Peru
With today’s readiness review completed, all is set for the September 15 nighttime launch beginning precisely at 10:43:35 p.m. local time at the Spaceport in French Guiana. The flight will last approximately one hour and 42 minutes from liftoff to separation of the final spacecraft in its payload arrangement, which integrates a cluster of four satellites for U.S.-based Terra Bella, along with Peru’s PerúSAT-1.
The payload arrangement places PerúSAT-1 – a very high resolution optical observation spacecraft developed for Peru’s CONIDA national space agency, with an estimated liftoff mass of 430 kg. – in a dispenser system called VESPA (Vega Secondary Payload Adaptor). PerúSAT-1 is the country’s first Earth observation satellite, and its launch is being carried out under a turnkey agreement between Airbus Defence and Space and CONIDA.
Terra Bella’s four spacecraft – SkySat-4, -5, -6 and -7 – are in the upper position atop VESPA, and will be released one-by-one during the flight sequence’s 40-minute mark, to be followed by PerúSAT-1’s separation approximately one hour and two minutes later.
The SkySat satellites each weigh approximately 110 kg. for liftoff, and after their separation, they will be used to provide very-high-resolution maps of Earth in its entirety – augmenting the existing three in-orbit satellites for new Arianespace customer Terra Bella, which is a Google company.
A larger version of the image above is available for download in the gallery.