Vega pushed back to 13 Feb – getting close to ATV deadline

by | Feb 3, 2012 | Seradata News | 0 comments

The European Space Agency has set themaiden flight of its new light launcher, Vega, for 13 February -four days later than had been announced two weeks ago and perilouslyclose to the point when the flight will have to be scrubbed to makeway for a 9 March Ariane 5 launch to deliver ESA’s third AutomatedTransfer Vehicle robotic supply ship to the International SpaceStation.

ESA’s launch facility in Kourou, FrenchGuiana could handle both flights more or less simultaneously, but thetwo rockets will follow similar trajectories and thus share the sameset of ground stations, including some tracking equipment aboardships that are today in place for the Vega launch but must berepositioned before the ATV flight. Traffic to the ISS is heavy, so 9March – give or take a day for normal launch delays – is anon-negotiable slot.

If Vega cannot fly before Ariane 5, itwill get a new date in late March or April.

Historical data shows that fully 60% ofmaiden launches end in failure, but ESA is determined to take everyprecaution for a success. At this time last year, ESA had hoped tomake the Vega flight before the close of 2011, but eventually settledon 26 January 2012 – the key being to find a date in between thefirst-ever Soyuz flight from Kourou (which flew as planned on 20October) and the ATV launch on 9 March.

Vega has been nine years in the worksand will give ESA exceptional flexibility in its operations. Therocket’s sweet spot is to place a 1.5T payload into a 750km orbit,ideal for Earth observation or scientific missions. Soyuz can loft 3Tto the very high geosynchronous orbits – its first Kourou payloadwas a pair of Galileo navigation satellites. Ariane 5 is much bigger,ideal for up to 10T to geosynchronous orbits or heavy loads to theSpace Station.



More on Vega:

-first payload

-ambitious technology

-ESA’s plans for 2012



About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationRocket LabBeidouawardsBlue OriginspaceStarlinkSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonboeingAirbus DSISROCargo Return VehiclemarsblogresearchOneWebspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedIntelsatRaymond Lygo2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiomissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbittestinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122Ariane 5Northrop GrummanSLSChina Manned Space EngineeringElectronflightspace tourism2010cotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4Cbuildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttleEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositesnew yorkrulesAriane 6hanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhoucongressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKInmarsatcnesnew shepardiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotonUS Air ForceTalulah RileydarpaElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatNorth KoreaSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor