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Europe’s new Vega-C launch vehicle is set to debut in 2020 for more launches, with increased performance, to more orbits.
It features a range of capabilities to meet the needs of the whole launch service market for payloads from 1 kg to 2300 kg, for “access to”, “operations in”, and “return from” space.
The Small Spacecraft Mission Service, or SSMS, is a new payload carrier system for the small satellites market. It will first fly on the current Vega launch vehicle in a proof of concept flight in 2019 to deploy multiple small satellites. This rideshare launch will carry seven microsatellites and 35 CubeSats. The SSMS will launch on Vega-C from 2020 offering 700 kg of extra payload capacity inside a larger fairing.
Additional payload adaptors include an enhancement to Vega’s Vespa payload adapter for dual passengers and the Vampire for single large payloads.
The Space Rider system, integrated with Vega-C, will provide payload return capability for Europe.
Developments are underway for a Vega Electrical Nudge Upper Stage, Venus, which will provide the orbital transfer capability to satellites to extend its market reach with constellation deployment, lunar mission and in-orbit servicing.
Rockets are the backbone of all space-based endeavours. ESA in partnership with industry is developing next-generation space transportation vehicles, Ariane 6, Vega-C, and Space Rider. Together with flagship technologies, these programmes strengthen our position in a competitive market, ensure autonomous independent access to space for Europe, and present new opportunities for space transportation services. At Space19+, ESA will propose further enhancements to these programmes and introduce new ideas to help Europe work together to build a robust space transportation economy. Join the conversation online this week by following the hashtag #RocketWeek