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.
Stefano Bianchi | EurekAlert!
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