Vega

The light launcher

Vega overview

The Arianespace commercial launcher family was expanded in 2012 with the addition of Vega, a new-generation vehicle for flights with small- to medium-sized satellite payloads. This four-stage launcher – a European Space Agency (ESA) program – is tailored to carry the growing number of small scientific spacecraft and other lighter-weight payloads under development or planned worldwide. Its target payload lift capability is 1,500 kg. on missions to a 700-km. circular orbit. To meet the bourgeoning small satellite market for institutional and commercial needs, Arianespace offers shared payload opportunities on Vega with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS). This concept – involving multiple small satellites from 1 kg. to 500 kg. being flown together with the objective of sharing the launch cost – was developed with the support of ESA and Vega prime contractor Avio. The satellite dispenser is an ESA product developed by Avio under ESA leadership, and it is produced by the Czech company, SAB Aerospace s.r.o. Satellite integration can be performed for the first time in Europe (at the Czech Republic).

Vega overview

The Arianespace commercial launcher family was expanded in 2012 with the addition of Vega, a new-generation vehicle for flights with small- to medium-sized satellite payloads. This four-stage launcher – a European Space Agency (ESA) program – is tailored to carry the growing number of small scientific spacecraft and other lighter-weight payloads under development or planned worldwide. Its target payload lift capability is 1,500 kg. on missions to a 700-km. circular orbit. To meet the bourgeoning small satellite market for institutional and commercial needs, Arianespace offers shared payload opportunities on Vega with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS). This concept – involving multiple small satellites from 1 kg. to 500 kg. being flown together with the objective of sharing the launch cost – was developed with the support of ESA and Vega prime contractor Avio. The satellite dispenser is an ESA product developed by Avio under ESA leadership, and it is produced by the Czech company, SAB Aerospace s.r.o. Satellite integration can be performed for the first time in Europe (at the Czech Republic).

Avio
Industrial prime contractor
1,500 kg.
Payload to circular polar orbit
3-4 / year
Average launch rate
  • 29.9 m
    Height
  • 3.025 m
    Diameter
  • 137 t
    Mass

Standard mission

  • Stages
  • Trajectory
  • Industrial team

    The Vega launcher program – tailored to carry the growing number of small scientific spacecraft and other lighter-weight payloads – is led by industrial prime contractor ELV S.p.A.

    Avio Italy
    CRISA Spain
    Dutch Space Netherlands
    EADS CASA Spain
    Europropulsion France
    Galileo Avionica Italy
    INSNEC France
    KB Yuzhnove Ukraine
    Oerlikon Contraves Italia (O.C.I) Italy
    RUAG Space Switzerland
    S.A.B.C.A Belgium
    SAFT France
    Stork Product Engineering Netherlands
    SNECMA Propulsion Solid France
    Thales France
    More informations about Vega specifications only available on desktop and tablet website.

    Payload fairing

    The Vega payload fairing – which is 7.88 meters long and measures 2.6 meters in diameter – consists of two sandwich panel CFRP sheets, along with its aluminum honeycomb core.

    AVUM – Attitude and Vernier Upper Module

    AVUM – Attitude and Vernier Upper Module

    The AVUM (Attitude & Vernier Upper Module) has a bipropellant main propulsion system to provide orbital injection, and a monopropellant propulsion system for roll and attitude control.

    It is designed to inject different payloads into different orbits, and ensures the fine pointing of satellites prior to separation. At the end of the mission, it is deorbited under safe conditions to limit the amount of orbital debris.

    The AVUM contains about 577 kg. of liquid propellant (UDMH/NTO), distributed in four tanks. It is powered by an engine derived from the re-ignitable RD-869, providing 2.45 kN of thrust. It also contains 38.6 kg. of hydrazine to supply two sets of three monopropellant thrusters that control roll and attitude.

    ZEFIRO-9 third stage

    ZEFIRO-9 third stage

    The Vega’s second and third stages both use Zefiro solid rocket motors. These stages, each 1.9 meters in diameter, comprise a filament-wound carbon-epoxy case, with low-density EPDM insulation and a nozzle with flex-joints equipped with electromechanical actuators to direct the thrust.

    The third stage Zefiro 9 is 4.12 meters long and is loaded with 10,567 kg. of solid propellant HTPB 1912, providing maximum vacuum thrust of 317 kN. Although it is the smallest solid rocket motor on Vega, it offers the longest burn time, of approximately 120 seconds.

    ZEFIRO-23 second stage

    ZEFIRO-23 second stage

    The Vega’s second and third stages both use Zefiro solid rocket motors. These stages, each 1.9 meters in diameter, comprise a filament-wound carbon-epoxy case, with low-density EPDM insulation and a nozzle with flex-joints equipped with electromechanical actuators to direct the thrust.

    The second stage Zefiro 23 is 8.39 meters long, and is loaded with 23,814 kg. of solid propellant HTPB 1912, providing maximum vacuum thrust of 1,120 kN. It operates for approximately 78 seconds.

    P80 solid propellant motor

    P80 solid propellant motor

    Vega’s P80 first stage is powered by a large single-piece solid rocket motor (SRM) containing 87,710 kg. of the HTPB 1912 solid propellant. This solid rocket motor delivers maximum vacuum thrust of 3,015 kN and burns for approximately 113 seconds prior to being jettisoned at an altitude of about 58 km.

    The P80 uses a filament-wound carbon-epoxy case. It has the same diameter (3 meters) as the solid boosters used on Ariane 5, and its overall length (11.2 meters) is similar to one of the solid booster’s longest segments.

    Tune in on arianespace.com close