minigallery: Vega completes system tests on launch pad
ESA’s new Vega small launcher has taken the next step towards its maiden flight later this year with completion of mechanical testing of a full-scale mock-up at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in April.
One particular test showed that the vehicle and the pad structure can withstand high winds during the hours before launch.
Other important work included ventilation and thermal testing, inertial platform alignment and performance testing, and umbilical tests. During thermal testing, the temperature of the vehicle, in particular the fairing and avionics, was monitored.
These tests were performed during daytime and night time to cover both launch situations.
A dry-run of the final countdown tested launch operations and the rollout of the mobile gantry.
In the coming months, the Flight Readiness Review will give the final green light for the maiden qualification flight, in the second half of 2011.