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Vega, mission accomplished

The ninth success for the Vettore Europeo di Generazione Avanzata (VEGA). Lift-off took place at 10.49 pm last night from the Kourou space base in French Guyana, correctly placing the Sentinel 2B satellite in the Copernicus program in orbit

Vega's ninth success. The European launcher designed, developed and built by Avio in Italy has successfully completed its first mission in 2017, placing satellite Sentinel 2B correctly in orbit. Sentinel is the new environmental satellite designed to monitor the health of the planet's green areas. Lift-off took place yesterday at 10.49 pm (2.49 am in Italy) from the ESA base in Kourou, French Guyana. 

In just under an hour, Vega delivered its load to destination. Exactly 58 minutes and 58 seconds after launch, the fourth stage of the rocket released Sentinel 2B, which reached its pre-established orbit at an altitude of 786 kilometres. 

The new environmental sentinel has therefore joined its twin Sentinel 2A, also placed in orbit by Vega in May 2015, providing high resolution optic images of plantlife and the territory, collecting information on pollution in lakes and seas, as well as data that could be essential in the case of emergencies. 

“Vega is continuing its career at 100%. This ninth launch marks a new record for the Colleferro-produced launcher, which is a fundamental member of the family of launchers that guarantee Europe independent access to space”, commented Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency. “Thanks to Vega and Ariane, Copernicus and Galileo, space is increasingly becoming a shared language for Europe, offering a plan for the future thanks to its technology, science and companies.” 

One of Vega's characteristics is its versatility. In fact, in 2018, thanks to the new Small Satellites Mission Service dispenser, it will be bringing light satellites with a variable mass from 1 to 400 kg into orbit. 

This new opportunity will allow the launcher to keep up with the demands of a market that is increasingly interested in launching nano and mini satellites.