Photo credit: ESA
Launcher integration for the inaugural flight of Vega-C began with the P120C solid-fuel first stage being delivered to the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega, or ZLV) at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 15 April 2022. P120C will also fly on Ariane 6, with two or four units serving as boosters depending on mission requirements.
The interstage segment to join the P120C first stage with the Z40 second stage followed on the 22nd.
For flight VV21, the principal payload will be LARES-2, a scientific mission of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Also onboard will be six European research CubeSats.
Following Vega’s success, Member States at the ESA Ministerial meeting in December 2014 agreed to develop the more powerful Vega-C to respond to an evolving market and long-term institutional needs.
Vega-C increases performance from Vega’s 1.5 t to about 2.2 t in a reference 700 km polar orbit and increases the available payload volume, covering identified European institutional users’ mission needs with no increase in launch service and operating costs.
The participating states in this development are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.