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Vega October 15, 2014

Arianespace’s Vega is “topped off” with its upper stage

At left, the AVUM upper stage is hoisted inside its protective container for mating with Vega’s lower three stages, which is shown at right inside the mobile gantry at the Spaceport’s SLV launch site.

With the integration of its AVUM upper stage, Vega’s basic build-up is complete for Arianespace’s upcoming light-lift mission with Europe’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) spaceplane.

As part of Vega’s vertical assembly process on the launch pad, the vehicle’s AVUM (Attitude and Vernier Upper Module) – which uses liquid bi-propellant for primary maneuvering, along with cold gas for attitude control – was hoisted and mated to the three lower solid propellant stages.

This activity occurred at the Spaceport’s SLV launch site – originally used for Ariane 1 and Ariane 3 missions, with its mobile gantry, launch pad and infrastructure updated and adapted for Arianespace’s new lightweight vehicle.

The European Space Agency’s IXV atmospheric reentry demonstrator – built by Thales Alenia Space – is designed to flight test technologies and critical systems for Europe’s future automated reentry systems as they return from low Earth orbit.

Vega October 9, 2014

Another Vega launcher takes shape at the Spaceport

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