Flight VV10: For its 10th successful launch in a row, Vega orbits two Earth observation satellites –
Arianespace has successfully launched two Earth observation satellites for civil and military applications: OPTSAT-3000 for the Italian Ministry of Defence; and Venµs, a mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) – a government body sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Science & Technology – and the French CNES space agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales). The launch took place on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 10:58:33 pm (local time in Kourou) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. This was Arianespace’s eighth mission of the year and the second using Vega in 2017. It marked the 10th successful Vega launch in a row since this light-lift vehicle started its career at the Guiana Space Center in 2012. Additionally, today’s mission reaffirmed Vega’s excellence and versatility.
As a highly versatile launcher, Vega has now logged 10 launches, all successful, since starting operation in 2012 at the Guiana Space Center. Over the past five years of launch activity, Vega has orbited a total of 25 satellites for 19 customers, both government and commercial. In June 2017, Arianespace announced the first two contracts for the Vega C launcher. Scheduled to make its first flight in 2019, Vega C will offer higher performance than the current version in terms of payload weight and usable volume. It will be able to handle an even wider range of missions (from nanosatellites to large optical and radar observation satellites), and will further enhance the launch service competitiveness. Vega and Vega C now have an order book totaling nine launches, with one-third of them for European governments and two-thirds for commercial customers in export markets. This mission also marks Arianespace’s continued focus on innovation, heralding the new payload fairings to be used on its upcoming Ariane 6 and Vega C launchers. As with the most recent Ariane 5 mission (on June 28, 2017), the new “out of autoclave” fairing, built by RUAG, protected the satellite passengers on Flight VV10. On this VV10 mission, Arianespace also anticipated the evolution for how Vega launch campaigns are carried out, based on the framework agreement defining the operational organization for Ariane 6 and Vega C, which was approved by ESA, CNES, ArianeGroup and Avio. Industrial prime contractor Avio now assumes responsibility for preparing the launcher until its liftoff (H0), while Arianespace maintains full responsibility for customer relations, as well as operations for the final countdown and the launch decision. This new operational organization is to allow more integrated operation of teams at the Guiana Space Center for enhanced competitiveness.