Europe's Vega rocket launch set for early February

Jan 09, 2012
The Vega rocket is seen in Kourou, French Guiana, in 2007. The maiden voyage of Europe's Vega rocket, designed to launch small payloads of about 1.5 tonnes into low-Earth orbit, is set for February 9, the head of the European Space Agency said Monday.

The maiden voyage of Europe's Vega rocket, designed to launch small payloads of about 1.5 tonnes into low-Earth orbit, is set for February 9, the head of the European Space Agency said Monday.

"The target date for the Vega launch, set with all the partners involved -- Arianespace, industry, other space agencies -- is February 9," ESA's Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said at a press conference.

The rocket is scheduled to lift the LARES (Laser Relativity Satellite), along with several other micro-satellites, from the Ariane launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.

The ESA had hoped to put the first Vega into space as early as 2009, and in October set a January 30 date for the light rocket's first voyage.

"Goodness knows it is a very difficult campaign. Everything is new," Dordain said, adding that he was confident the new date would hold.

Bringing Vega on line means that Europe will have completed its three-pronged launch capability.

Heavy-lifter Ariane ES can hoist the 20 tonnes Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) supply module to the , while the Ariane ECA is designed mainly to lift weighing up to 10 tonnes into geostationary orbit.

The Russian workhorse , launched for the first time from the Ariane site in October, carries mid-sized loads.

Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Europe's Vega rocket launch set for early 2012

Dec 08, 2011

Europe's new Vega rocket, which can place a 1.5-ton satellite into low-Earth orbit, is expected to see its first launch early next year, Arianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall said Thursday.

Soyuz launch from Europe space base set for October

May 10, 2011

The maiden launch of the veteran Soviet-Russian rocket Soyuz from Europe's space base in South America has been scheduled for October, a spokesman for launch operators Arianespace said on Tuesday.

2011 to be 'revolution' for Europe in space - ESA

Jan 14, 2011

Europe is set for a space "revolution" in 2011 when two new types of rocket join its launch pad in French Guiana, European Space Agency (ESA) boss Jean-Jacques Dordain said on Friday.

Final checks for first Soyuz launch from Kourou

Oct 20, 2011

Launch directors on Thursday were running through the last checks for the maiden liftoff of Soyuz, the legendary Soviet-Russian rocket, from Europe's base in French Guiana.

First Soyuz launch from Kourou to go ahead: Arianespace

Aug 25, 2011

The maiden flight of a Soyuz from Europe's space base will go ahead as scheduled on October 20, as it is a different version from the rocket involved in Wednesday's launch failure by Russia, Arianespace said on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Can sound help us detect 'earthquakes' on Venus?

Apr 23, 2015

Detecting an "earthquake" on Venus would seem to be an impossible task. The planet's surface is a hostile zone of crushing pressure and scorching temperatures—about 874 degrees F, hot enough to melt lead—that ...

Titan's atmosphere useful in study of hazy exoplanets

Apr 23, 2015

With more than a thousand confirmed planets outside of our solar system, astronomers are attempting to identify the atmospheres of these distant bodies to determine if they could possibly host life.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gmurphy
4 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2012
February 9th!, this spacecraft and I share a birthday :), I wonder what impact this system will have on launch price...
PhotonX
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2012
Indeed. Just what *is* the cost? Not mentioned here or in several other sites I checked.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.