Vega boasts a flawless launch record while demonstrating a range of capabilities to meet the needs of a competitive launcher market.
Multiple payload configuration
As well as single satellites, Vega can deliver multiple payloads into different orbits.
The VEga Secondary Payload Adapter, Vespa, housed in the fairing at the top of the rocket, can carry a 1000 kg main satellite on top, and either a secondary payload of 600 kg in the internal cone, or several auxiliary payloads totalling 600 kg distributed on a platform.
A complex multiple firing strategy by the upper stage ensures that the satellites are released into their planned orbits.
This was first demonstrated on Vega’s second Verta flight (VV02) in May 2013. Three satellites were delivered into two different orbits involving a change in inclination.
Wide range of orbits
The core of Vega’s market requires Vega to head north into a polar or Sun-synchronous orbit – typically for small- to medium-sized Earth observation satellites.
Vega has also delivered into an elliptical orbit: ESA’s LISA Pathfinder scientific satellite began its journey towards a Lagrange Point.
On its fourth flight (VV04), Vega headed eastwards for the first time to release ESA’s experimental IXV spaceplane into a suborbital path, reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean to demonstrate autonomous European reentry capability for future space transportation.
Launching into an equatorial orbit enabled Vega to carry the maximum payload capacity of 2 tonnes (the vehicle is benchmarked to haul 1.7 tonne into a 700 km polar orbit).
A suborbital trajectory with the ESA’s experimental IXV spaceplane was also demonstrated on Vega’s fourth flight.
For the first time, Vega headed eastwards to release IXV into a suborbital path reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean to demonstrate autonomous European reentry capability for future space transportation.
Launching into an equatorial orbit enables Vega to carry the maximum payload capacity of 2 tonnes while this vehicle is benchmarked to haul 1,7 tonnes into a 700 km-high polar orbit.
Mitigating space debris
To remain fully compliant with space debris regulations to help keep space clean, Vega’s upper stage performs a final burn in order to deorbit and burn up high in the atmosphere over the ocean.