The first stage of the second Vega rocket, VV02, is now sitting on its launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The arrival of ‘Assembly A1A’, consisting of Interstage 0/1, the P80 solid-propellant motor and its thrust-vectoring system, marks the start of the launch campaign.
Initially shipped empty from Avio’s Colleferro premises in Italy, the P80 was loaded with 88 tonnes of propellant in Kourou at the Regulus facilities, and then integrated by Europropulsion with its nozzle and pyrotechnic igniter.
Interstage 0/1, thermal protection, electrical harness and the thrust-vector electromechanical system were added in Kourou’s Batiment d’Integration Propulseur.
Vega VV02 is the first of the five flights scheduled in ESA’s Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment – VERTA – programme, which aims to demonstrate the flexibility of the launch system. At a minimum rate of two launches per year, the programme will allow the smooth introduction of Vega for commercial exploitation.
VV02 will loft Proba-V, the first of four ESA missions, into space. Proba-V carries a reduced version of the Vegetation instrument currently flying on the Spot satellites to provide a daily overview of global vegetation growth.
This first VERTA flight will also demonstrate Vega's capability to launch multiple payloads. The second payload is the Vietnam Natural Resources, Environment and Disaster Monitoring Satellite (VNREDSAT) built by Astrium for the Vietnamese government.
The Vega team, including industrial colleagues from prime contractors, is now checking the first stage and preparing for the next step: adding the second stage of Europe’s small launcher.