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: Elon Musk gets fresh challenge with space contract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Lunar explorers will walk at higher speeds than thought

5 hours ago

Anyone who has seen the movies of Neil Armstrong's first bounding steps on the moon couldn't fail to be intrigued by his unusual walking style. But, contrary to popular belief, the astronaut's peculiar walk ...

Space: The final frontier... open to the public

6 hours ago

Historically, spaceflight has been reserved for the very healthy. Astronauts are selected for their ability to meet the highest physical and psychological standards to prepare them for any unknown challenges. However, with ...

NASA releases IRIS footage of X-class flare (w/ Video)

6 hours ago

On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare – an example of one of the strongest solar flares—on ...

NASA's Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

7 hours ago

Mars, get ready for another visitor or two. This weekend, NASA's Maven spacecraft will reach the red planet following a 10-month journey spanning 442 million miles (711 million kilometers).

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.