Processing begins with PRISMA for Arianespace’s next Vega launch from the Spaceport
Payload preparations have commenced for Arianespace’s first Vega mission in 2019, which will deliver the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) newest Earth observation satellite to Sun-synchronous orbit in March.
Built by OHB Italia as system prime contractor, PRISMA (PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa) was transported to French Guiana aboard a chartered 747 cargo aircraft – touching down at Félix Eboué Airport earlier this month, then travelling by road to the Spaceport to begin processing.
Supporting the scientific community
PRISMA – which will weigh approximately 900 kg. at liftoff – is fitted with an innovative electro-optical instrument combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera.
This type of combined instrument offers the advantages of conventional observation (based on the recognition of geometric characteristics of a scene) coupled with the ability to determine the chemical and physical characteristics of the objects present in the scene, using the hyperspectral sensor.
The scientific community and other users will be able to employ these capabilities for a wide range of applications, including – but not limited to – environmental monitoring, resource management, identification and classification of crops, and the efforts to limit pollution.
A fast-paced 2019 for Arianespace
The March mission with PRISMA is designated Flight VV14, signifying the 14th launch of the lightweight Vega – which joins Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5 in a complete launch vehicle family to orbit commercial, governmental, institutional, scientific and experimental payloads.
The company’s fast-paced operational schedule in 2019 will include up to 12 missions using the three highly-capable launchers. Arianespace’s first mission in 2019 – Ariane 5 Flight VA247, carrying Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and GSAT-31 – is scheduled for a February 5 liftoff from the Spaceport.
A larger version of the photo above is available for downloading in the gallery.