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The inaugural Vega flight from its new launch pad at Europe's Spaceport, in Kourou, is scheduled to take place within a window of a few days opening next 9 February. The European Space Agency will carry out the first qualification flight of this brand-new launch vehicle which, once tested and validated, will complement the family of launch services already available from French Guiana - the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launch system, and the Soyuz medium-class launcher, introduced last October. The four-stage Vega has been designed for the growing number of small spacecraft currently under construction or being planned worldwide. This maiden launch comes after 9 years of development by ESA and its partners the Italian Space Agency and the industrial ELV SpA , as well as for the seven ESA member states that contributed to the program: Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.