The first Vega launch campaign began on 7 November 2011 at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana with the installation of the P80 first stage on the launch pad.
The two solid-propellant second and third stages, the Zefiro-23 and Zefiro-9, were then transferred from the Vega Booster Storage and Preparation Building and added to the vehicle.
All three stages underwent final acceptance, including testing of their thrust vector control system. The next step was to mate the AVUM – Attitude & Vernier Upper Module – liquid-propellant fourth stage to the vehicle.
The ‘upper composite’ – the fairing and payload – was moved to the pad and integrated on 24 January.
It was followed by the final checkout of the fully assembled launcher and the countdown rehearsal.
Vega flight VV01 lifted off at 10:00 GMT (11:00 CET, 07:00 local time) on 13 February 2012 from its new launch pad, and conducted a flawless qualification flight.