VEGA programme background
The objective of the VEGA launcher is:
“completing, in the medium term, the range of launch services offered by the addition of a European manufactured small and medium launcher, complementary to Ariane, consistent with diversified users needs and relying on common elements, such as stage, subsystems, technologies, production facilities and operational infrastructure, thereby increasing the European launcher industry’s competitiveness”(*).
The VEGA ground segment will provide the operational infrastructure for the launcher system. The European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana will be the launch base for Vega and ELA 1 has been chosen as the Vega launch site.
Scope of the Vega ground segment
The Vega ground segment consists of all existing, modified or new construction, facilities, equipment, services and software necessary both in Kourou and worldwide needed for the proper control of the flight and to support the integration, processing, check-out, launch, telemetry, tracking, control and post flight analysis of the launch system. It includes:
- the integration infrastructures (including office buildings) and verification facilities for the launch vehicle after delivery of the stages in French Guiana.
- facilities for the preparation of the payload and the upper composite, including the connection means with their ground control bench,
- campaign preparation support for the launcher up to liftoff (e.g. control bench for check out, meteorological previsions, safeguard analysis, etc.),
- the launch pad
- the Vega flight check services (telemetry, safeguard, positioning, etc.),
- means for post flight analyses in French Guiana and Europe.
The facilities required for the P80 for Bâtiment d’Integration des Propluseur (BIP) and the Banc d’Essais des Propluseurs (BEAP) are not within the scope of this activity as they are part of the P80 development, with the exception of common facilities like Fardier and the sliding pallet.
Guidelines and constraints for the Vega programme
Industrial contractors will cover the production of the ground segment under five dedicated procurements:
- mechanical infrastructure (02.189.01)
- civil infrastructures (02.189.02)
- fluids process and general means (02.189.03)
- operational computing system and operational software, 'the control centre' (02.189.04)
- services control command
ESA has the overall management responsibility for all parts of the Vega programme, and, in particular, for ensuring the necessary technical and programmatic coherence between the development of the launch vehicle and the ground segment. Contracts will be placed by the Agency according to its rules and procedures.
Information on these procurements can be found under Intended Invitation to Tenders in EMITS, ESA’s Invitation to Tender system.
Vega ground segment project duration
Each industrial contract will enter into force upon date of signature with a termination nominally at the Ground Segment Operational Readiness Review (GSORR), with the option to be extended to any date up to the qualification review.
The launcher qualification flight is scheduled to take place bymid 2006.
The ground segment development will be completed with the final close out of the qualification review, scheduled for end 2006 after the exploitation of the qualification flight data.
(*) Reference: The ESA Council Resolution adopted on 20 June 2000.
Last update: 12 May 2004