Arianespace has launched a Vega rocket to deliver the Italian Space Agency's PRISMA Earth observation satellite into orbit.
Liftoff of Vega’s 14th mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana came at 01:50 GMT on 22 March (02:50 CET; 22:50 local time on 21 March).
With a mass at liftoff of 879 kg, PRISMA was manoeuvred into its target Sun-synchronous orbit about 54 minutes into the mission after two burns of Vega’s upper stage.
Complying with debris regulations to help keep space clean, Vega’s upper stage fired a final time to ensure direct reentry and burn up high in the atmosphere over the ocean.
Built by OHB in Italy, PRISMA (PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa) carries innovative, electro-optical instrumentation combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. This benefits the scientific community and other users in the field of environmental monitoring involved in resource management, crop classification, and pollution control. Hyperspectral data will assist forest analysis, precision agriculture, inland and coastal waters, climate change and environmental research, material exploration and mining.
Developed by ESA, Vega is a 30 m-high, four-stage launch vehicle designed to accommodate small scientific and Earth observation payloads of 300–2500 kg, depending on the orbit.