Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vega on track to meet 2007 deadline

16.03.2005


There are just under three years to go to the first launch of a new European launcher – Vega. Last week representatives of over 20 European space industries met at ESA’s European Space Research Institute, ESRIN, just outside Rome in Italy, to discuss progress on this new small-scale launcher.



“The preliminary project stage is now completed,” said Stefano Bianchi, responsible of the Launch Vehicle Development Programme. “We are now moving from the drawing board to the construction of the launchers, by building and testing systems and the motors. This is decidedly the most critical phase of the development.”

Vega, comparatively small at only 30 m compared to the 53 m Ariane 5 ECA, will be capable of placing payloads weighing from 300 to 2000 kg into the polar and low-Earth orbits used for many scientific and Earth observation missions. This should enable it to play a significant role in the global market for launching small satellites.


“Arianespace, the society that will commercialise Vega, have confirmed that there are already at least three to four potential clients for Vega," says Bianchi. "This is a fantastic opportunity for Europe to enter a new market which is why we must be ready for the first qualification launch, sometime towards the end of 2007.”

One of Vega’s strong points will be its flexibility and this, together with its low cost, should make it popular with small businesses, research institutes and European universities. Vega will give Europe for the first time the possibility of placing satellites into orbit at a relatively low cost.

These low costs have been made possible by the Vega strategy. This is to use, whenever possible, technology already developed for the Ariane 5 programme, leading to an important reduction in initial costs. In turn, new elements developed for Vega can be used by the next generation of Ariane 5 launchers. One example is the P80 first stage motor, specially developed for Vega using low-cost technology, which could be used for an Ariane 5 booster engine.

A similar strategy has been used to adapt existing launch infrastructure at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Savings have been made by adapting the ELA 1 site, used for the very first Ariane launch in 1979, instead of building a new launch site.

“To win the challenge of meeting the first launch date in 2007,” says Bianchi, “we need a well coordinated industrial team, we can’t allow ourselves to miss this deadline.”

The first firing test of Vega’s Zefiro solid rocket motor will take place this year in Sardinia. At Kourou, work on preparing the launch site for Vega is proceeding to plan.

Altogether seven ESA Member States are contributing to the Vega programme. Italy is providing 65% of the costs and France around 15% while the remainder is being met by Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Stefano Bianchi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>