Vega Milestones
2015
March

March 17, 2015 March 17, 2015

Commercial agreement

Skybox Imaging becomes the first U.S. customer for Vega, signing to launch a block of high-resolution imaging satellites from the Spaceport in 2016.

February

February 11, 2015 February 11, 2015

Launch success

Vega deploys the European Space Agency’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) on a suborbital mission to validate reentry technologies. This is the fourth flight of the lightweight launcher, continuing its successful operation from French Guiana.

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2014
September

September 29, 2014 September 29, 2014

Commercial agreement

The order for Arianespace’s acquisition of 10 Vega launchers is signed with Italy’s ELV. These vehicles will enter service at the end of 2015 and represent three years of operations. The production contract confirms the long-term viability of Vega, now established as the best launch vehicle in the light-lift class.

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April

April 29, 2014 April 29, 2014

The third Vega launch from French Guiana successfully orbits KazEOSat-1, a pioneering Earth observation satellite for the Republic of Kazakhstan.

2013
December

December 17, 2013 December 17, 2013

Arianespace announces a contract to launch two satellites into low Earth orbit with Vega on missions planned from French Guiana in 2017 and 2018.

November

November 20, 2013 November 20, 2013

Arianespace orders 10 Vega launchers from Italian manufacturer ELV for missions beginning at the end of 2015, and covering more than three years of operations. They follow the initial original Vega launcher used for the qualification flight in February 2012, and the five Vegas already ordered in 2010 within the scope of the VERTA contract.

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October

October 25, 2013 October 25, 2013

Vega’s second flight campaign begins with the rollout of its first stage to the Spaceport’s SLV launch complex in French Guiana. This mission, scheduled for liftoff in April, will orbit the Proba-V and VNREDSat-1A satellites – which weigh 160 kg. and 120 kg., respectively. The flight is part of a five-mission European Space Agency program called VERTA (Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment), which aims to demonstrate the Vega launch system’s flexibility as well as its ability to carry multiple satellite passengers.

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May

May 7, 2013 May 7, 2013

Vega’s second flight from French Guiana orbits a trio of satellites – Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 – on a mission that also marks start of operations under Arianespace responsibility for this light-lift launcher.

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January

January 4, 2013 January 4, 2013

VNREDSat-1A will be launched on Vega’s no. 2 flight from French Guiana – scheduled for the second quarter of 2013 – based on an Arianespace launch contract signed with Astrium on behalf of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology. Built by Astrium, this 120-kg. Earth observation satellite is to be carried in the lower position on a Vespa multiple payload carrier structure.

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2012
June

June 20, 2012 June 20, 2012

A Vega launch contract is signed by Arianespace with Astrium for the DZZ-HR high-resolution observation satellite, which will be operated by Kazakhstan. Scheduled for orbiting in the second quarter of 2014, the DZZ-HR agreement marks Arianespace’s third contract for Vega, and the first to serve an end-customer outside of Europe.

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February

February 13, 2012 February 13, 2012

Vega’s qualification flight – performed under responsibility of the European Space Agency – is a success, clearing the way for Arianespace to take charge of the lightweight launcher’s commercialization and operation.

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2011
December

December 14, 2011 December 14, 2011

The first commercial contract signing for Vega is announced by Arianespace, involving two satellites in the Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 families dedicated to Europe's GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) program. The launches with these payloads are scheduled for 2014-2016 from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

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November

November 7, 2011 November 7, 2011

Vega’s P80 first stage is rolled out to the Spaceport’s SLV launch pad – from where this vehicle’s qualification flight will be conducted in January 2012. The launch campaign startup for this mission marks the first time that flight preparations are underway in parallel for each member of Arianespace’s full launcher family operating from French Guiana: the lightweight Vega, medium Soyuz and heavy-lift Ariane 5.

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October

October 24, 2011 October 24, 2011

The Arianespace launcher family becomes a reality as operational versions of the Vega, Soyuz and Ariane 5 are present in French Guiana, positioned for upcoming missions. The no. 1 Vega for this lightweight launcher’s VV01 qualification flight in January 2012 arrives from Europe aboard the MN Colibri sea-going ship, along with a heavy-lift Ariane 5 for the VA205 mission in early 2012 with Europe’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle. They join a Soyuz that is being prepared for Arianespace’s second launch of the medium-lift vehicle from the Spaceport, which is scheduled for December 16, 2011.

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October 6, 2011 October 6, 2011

The no. 1 Vega to be launched from the Spaceport departs Europe for its sea-going voyage to French Guiana aboard the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off ship. After arriving at the Spaceport, this Vega will be prepared for a liftoff scheduled in January 2012 with a multi-spacecraft payload composed of the LARES satellite and nine small cubesats from European universities. This will serve as the vehicle’s qualification flight, opening a series of missions to demonstrate the launch system’s flexibility.

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February

February 2, 2011 February 2, 2011

A full-scale Vega model is assembled on the Spaceport’s SLV launch pad as part of validations for the mechanical, electrical and fluid elements of this newest member in Arianespace’s launcher family. The representative Vega was composed of inert first, second and third solid propellant stages, along with the AVUM bi-propellant liquid upper stage, the payload fairing with a satellite mockup and payload adapter.

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2010
October

October 28, 2010 October 28, 2010

The support services for Vega’s first launch campaign are defined in a contract signed by Arianespace and the European Space Agency. Testing will be conducted at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in preparation for Vega's first flight toward the end of 2010.

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October 26, 2010 October 26, 2010

A representative P80 first stage is moved to the Spaceport’s launch pad as the initial step for combined testing of Vega with its ground-based infrastructure. This full-scale stage is complete with instrumentation, and has been filled with a simulated load of solid propellant.

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