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  • Vega Launch Services for Small Satellite Programs

    Paper number



    Ms. Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace, France




    The Arianespace launcher family will grow with the addition of Vega, the new light vehicle that will enter service in 2009 at the Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Joining Ariane 5 and Soyuz, Vega is designed to provide new launch opportunities for small, mini and micro satellites.

    The paper first gives an insight into the main characteristics and capabilities of the launch vehicle. The flexibility of the vehicle, fitted to cover a wide range of missions, is demonstrated through the presentation of analyses performed by Arianespace for various missions:

    • AEOLUS spacecraft to be injected into a near Sun-synchronous orbit,
    • LISA Pathfinder mission to be launched into an elliptic low-inclination transfer orbit,
    • SWARM mission consisting in three satellites in near polar low orbits.

    The crucial role to be played by Vega in ensuring an affordable access to space for a wide range of small missions is then addressed while keeping in mind two significant drivers:

    • Small spacecraft can nowadays achieve complete missions and should therefore be offered dedicated services instead of being bound to fly as secondary payloads;
    • The key to mission success starts with the launch phase, one of the most important and sensitive part of the whole mission.

    Based on the projection of the Low Earth Orbit satellite launch market for the coming years, an assessment of Vega launch solutions for small, mini and micro satellites serving science, technology and exploration is discussed.

    Finally, the Arianespace management of Vega exploitation in synergy with Ariane 5 and Soyuz is presented. It is shown that a consistent and standard approach for the three launch systems will be implemented, thus improving quality and efficiency thanks to other launchers experience.

    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.D2.2.6.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.