Proba-V is seated for flight
ESA’s Proba-V vegetation-mapping minisatellite has been fitted to the payload adapter and met its fellow passengers for its 2 May flight to orbit on a Vega launcher.
Last week, technicians attached Proba-V to the top of the Vespa adapter, which carries multiple payloads on a single Vega.
The other two satellites flying with Proba-V have now been installed inside Vespa: Vietnam’s VNREDSat Earth observation mission and Estonia’s ESTCube-1 student nanosatellite, to test electric solar sail technology.
Proba-V will be the first of the three satellites to be deployed from the Vega’s AVUM upper stage.
Less than a cubic metre in volume, Proba-V is a miniaturised ESA satellite tasked with a full-scale mission: to map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days.
A new, advanced version of the ‘Vegetation’ camera will fly on Proba-V. This is the latest in a series already in service on France’s full-sized Spot-4 and Spot-5 satellites, which have been observing Earth since 1998.
The minisatellite will provide data to the instrument’s worldwide user community of scientists and service providers as soon as it is commissioned in orbit.
This second Vega flight marks the start of the Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment programme, or VERTA, to demonstrate the flexibility and versatility of the vehicle. At a planned minimum of two launches per year, the programme will allow the smooth transition of Vega into commercial exploitation.