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Zefiro-23 firing test
Enabling & Support


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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Transportation / Launch vehicles / Vega first launch

Europe’s new Vega small launcher lifted off for the first time on 13 February 2012. After nine years of development, the four-stage vehicle completed its maiden flight.

Approved by ESA Council in June 1998, Vega is already set to launch six ESA missions: Proba-V, Aeolus, LISA Pathfinder, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 and the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV).

13 February 2012 ESA’s new Vega launcher scores success on maiden flight
14 December 2011 ESA and Arianespace sign contract to study the launch of IXV on Vega, as part of the VERTA programme
14 December 2011 First commercial launch contracts signed for the Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 satellites, now scheduled for launch in 2014–16
7 November 2011 First launch campaign begins
14 October 2011 Flight Readiness Review
April 2011 Completion of simulated launch campaign
11 February 2011 Full-scale Vega mock-up assembled on launch pad
28 April 2009 Zefiro-9A second ground firing test (success)
23 October 2008 Zefiro-9A first ground firing test (success)
27 March 2008 Zefiro-23 second ground firing test (success)
4 December 2007 P80 second ground firing test (success)
28 March 2007 Zefiro-9 second ground firing test (failure)
21 December 2006 Critical Design Review
30 November 2006 P80 first ground firing test (success)
26 June 2006 Zefiro-23 first ground firing test (success)
20 December 2005 Zefiro-9 first ground firing test (success)
20 October 2004 Building of Vega launch site begins
25 February 2003 ESA contracts ELV to complete launcher development
June 2002 Preliminary Design Review
21 February 2001 ASI and Fiat Avio incorporate ELV SpA
15 December 2000 Vega Small Launcher Development programme and P80 Advanced Solid Propulsion Stage Demonstrator programme formally approved
17 June 1999 Zefiro-16 second ground firing test (success)
24 June 1998 ESA Council approves Vega programme
22 June 1998 Zefiro-16 first ground firing test (success)

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