Second Vega launch by Arianespace a success: Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 in orbit
On Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm local time in French Guiana, Arianespace successfully launched the second Vega rocket from the Guiana space Center (CSG), orbiting the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 satellites.
Second successful Vega launch from CSG
With Ariane 5, Soyuz and now Vega all operating from the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace is the only launch services operator in the world capable of launching all types of payloads into all types of orbits, from the largest to the smallest geostationary satellites, clusters of satellites for constellations and missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Vega is designed to launch payloads in the 1,500 kg class into orbit at an altitude of 700 km, which means that Europe now has a new launcher capable of handling all scientific and government missions, along with commercial launches. Arianespace has now performed two launches from the Guiana Space Center in 2013, one with the Ariane 5 rocket and one with Vega. Starsem, the company’s Euro-Russian joint venture, has also carried out a Soyuz launch in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. From now until the end of the year, Arianespace plans eight more launches from the Guiana Space Center.
Arianespace at the service of Earth observation and sustainable development
With today’s launch, Arianespace is continuing its partnership with the scientific community, especially for Earth observation missions, by validating innovative satellite concepts in orbit. The partnership started back in 1986 with the launch of the first Spot remote sensing satellite. To date, Arianespace has now launched five Spot satellites, four Helios satellites, two ERS satellites and the huge Envisat satellite. Proba-V and VNREDSat-1 are the 29th and 30th observation satellites launched by Arianespace. ESTCube-1 is Estonia’s first space program. When announcing the mission success, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “Well done everybody, congratulation to the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, CNES and all our industrial partners. The success was brought by the joint efforts of thousands of men and women, pioneers of the space adventure. I am proud that Arianespace has completed this mission in the interest of our planet and its sustainable development. This success is a perfect illustration of the services which Vega, along with Ariane and Soyuz can provide for institutional, scientific and commercial customers. Congratulations to Europe”.
Proba-V, VNREDSat-1, ESTCube-1 mission at a glance
The mission was carried out by a Vega launcher from the Vega launch complex (SLV) at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Liftoff was on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:06:31 pm local time in Kourou (10:06:31 pm in Washington, D.C., and on Tuesday, May 7 at 02:06:31 UTC, 4:06:31 am in Paris, and 9:06:31 am in Hanoi).
Proba-V (Project for On-Board Autonomy and Vegetation) is the fourth satellite in the Proba series developed by ESA, and is designed to support the development of new space technologies. Its main objective is to continue the mission performed by the Vegetation instrument carried on Spot 4 and 5. Built by QinetiQ Space Belgium and weighing 138.2 kg, Proba-V was placed into the same orbit as the Spot remote-sensing satellites: Sun-synchronous orbit at 820 km, with local time of descending node at 10:45.
The VNREDSat-1A Earth observation satellite, launched for the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, was mounted in the lower position on the VESPA multiple payload adapter used for this mission.VNREDSat-1 will not only monitor the impact of climate change, but also take measurements used to generate predictions that will help anticipate natural disasters. It will enable Vietnam to optimize the management of its natural resources. The satellite was placed in Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 665 km to carry out its optical observation mission, with local time of descending node at 10:42. Weighing 115 kg, VNREDSat-1 was built by Astrium, which supplied the complete satellite and ground receiving system to Vietnam.
ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite, designed and built in Estonia by a team of students at the National University of Tartu, under the supervision of the Estonian Space Office. Mounted in the VESPA payload adaptor, this nano-satellite’s main mission is to measure the loads that could be applied to electric solar sails.