Tonight’s Vega flight with Sentinel-2A has entered the final countdown to liftoff
The final countdown is underway for Vega’s flight to orbit the Sentinel-2A Earth observation satellite, with tonight’s liftoff scheduled at precisely 10:51:58 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
This lightweight member of Arianespace’s launch vehicle family – in which it joins the medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5 – now stands in a flight-ready configuration at the Spaceport’s ZLV launch site. It was protected by a mobile gantry that rolled back beginning at 2 hrs., 40 min. prior to liftoff.
Sentinel-2A is the latest satellite for Europe’s ambitious Copernicus initiative, which is headed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency. After liftoff, this Airbus Defence and Space-produced spacecraft will be deployed into a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of approximately 786 km. – concluding the planned flight sequence of 54 min., 43 sec.
Tonight’s flight – designated VV05 – will mark Arianespace’s fifth mission in 2015 using a member of its launcher family. It follows two previous flights for Ariane 5, plus one each with Soyuz and Vega.