The Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment programme, Verta, was set up in December 2011 to support Vega’s transition from development to full commercial exploitation in a highly competitive market.
It comprised three main elements:
- Procurement of five Verta demonstration flights;
- Customer service improvements;
- Production accompaniment and technological activities.
The Verta flights carried three ESA missions: Proba-V, LISA Pathfinder and the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV).
The first Verta flight took place on 7 May 2013 following the launcher’s qualification flight on 13 February 2012.
The main customer service improvement activity during the Verta programme was the development of the multiple-payload launch capability for Vega.
With a minimum rate of two launches per year, the programme allowed the smooth introduction of this vehicle.
Vega’s first commercial launch contracts were signed on 14 December 2011 for the Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 satellites. Sentinel-2A was launched on 23 June 2015.
The Verta programme was completed on 3 December 2015 with the launch of LISA Pathfinder on Vega's sixth flight. Arianespace is now fully responsible for the commercial operation of Vega at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.