At the end of 2019 Vega-C will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana increasing performance from Vega’s current 1.5 t to about 2.2 t in its reference 700 km polar orbit, with no increase in launch costs.
Vega-C's first stage is based on the P120, the largest single segment carbon fibre solid-propellant rocket motor ever built. It was successfully tested in July 2018. Its development relies on new technologies derived from Vega’s current first stage P80 motor. Two or four P120C motors will also be used for the liftoff boosters on Ariane 6.
Vega-C’s 3.3 m diameter fairing will accommodate larger payloads such as Earth observation satellites of more than two tonnes, and ESA’s Space Rider reentry vehicle.
The Vega launch pad and mobile gantry are being modified to accommodate Vega-C leading into a period when launch facilities will accommodate both vehicles.