Latest Mission updates

Vega August 27, 2020

Vega’s SSMS rideshare mission is rescheduled for a launch window opening on September 1

The payload fairing for Flight VV16 – containing the SSMS dispenser and its 53 satellite passengers – arrives on the launch pad aboard a purpose-built transporter vehicle (photo at left). The fairing is then readied to be hoisted up the mobile gantry, which protects Vega during its pre-launch preparations (center photo). In the photo at right, the fairing is moved into position for installation atop the Vega launcher.

Final preparations are underway for Arianespace’s historic Vega rideshare flight with Europe’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser system – which has been rescheduled within a launch window from September 1 to September 4 following multiple weather-related postponements.

SSMS provides a new dedicated European rideshare solution with Vega that is modular and capable of accommodating a full range of payload combinations. Vega’s upcoming Proof of Concept mission – designated Flight VV16 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – was conceived in the context of ESA’s LLL (Light satellite, Low-cost, Launch opportunity) initiative.

53 satellite passengers for Vega’s Flight VV16

Hardware development was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA); while the European Union contributed to financing of the flight. The combined European efforts will enhance Arianespace’s response to the rideshare demand with solutions that are perfectly suited to the flourishing small satellite market.

Italy’s Avio is the production prime contractor for Vega, delivering the integrated launcher to Arianespace. Avio also developed the small satellite delivery system and the specific mission preparation process for Flight VV16, performing these tasks under ESA leadership. Design authority for the multi-payload dispenser system is SAB Aerospace s.r.o. (CZ) of the Czech Republic.

  • Larger versions of the photos above are available for downloading in the Gallery.

Liftoff timing for Flight VV16:

 French Guiana Washington, D.C. UTC Paris and Rome
10:51:10 p.m.
on Sept. 1
9:51:10 p.m.
on Sept. 1
on Sept. 2
03:51:10 a.m.
on Sept. 2


More details are available in the VV16 launch kit:

Vega Flight VV16
PDF / 818 KB

The European Space Agency website:

The European Commission website:

Avio website:

Vega June 28, 2020

Launch postponed for Vega Flight VV16

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