Arianespace is now fully responsible for the commercial operation of Vega at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
ESA’s Verta (Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment) programme demonstrated the capability and flexibility of the system. The Verta period ended with the launch of ESA’s LISA Pathfinder scientific satellite on 3 December 2015 on Vega’s sixth flight.
Vega’s lofting of IXV, Sentinel-2A and LISA Pathfinder in 2015 demonstrated the capacity of the system to reach three missions per year.
The Verta flights ensured the smooth transition for Vega from development to handover to full commercial exploitation.
Following the Qualification Flight (VV01), carrying Italy’s LARES experimental payload, AlmaSat-1 from the University of Bologna, and seven ESA CubeSats, Vega performed five Verta flights, described in the table:
|VV03||Exploitation flight||KazEOSat 1DZZ-HR (Kazakh Earth observation satellite)|
|VV04||Suborbital equatorial trajectory with the payload nearing Vega’s maximum capacity||ESA’s IXV spaceplane|
|VV05||Exploitation flight||ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-2A|
|VV06||Release into an elliptical low Earth transfer orbit||ESA’s LISA Pathfinder scientific satellite|