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ESA hopes to launch new Vega rocket after delays

January 26, 2012 - GUIANA

The European Space Agency was aiming for early 2011 for the launch - three years late - for its new Vega small satellite launcher. A launch pad complication has caused the launch to be moved again. It's now expected in mid 2011. Vega is designed to carry small Earth observation and research satellites for the ESA and member governments. It will blast off from the ELA-1 launch pad at the French-run spaceport in Kourou.

The European Space Agency was aiming for early 2011 for the launch -- three years late -- for its new Vega small satellite launcher.A launch pad complication has caused the launch to be moved again. It's now expected for 26 Jan 2012. Vega is designed to carry small Earth observation and research satellites for the ESA and member governments. It will blast off from the ELA-1 launch pad at the French-run spaceport in Kourou. The first payload for the 98-foot rocket is the Italian Space Agency's Laser Relativity Satellite (LARES), named ALMASat, and nine small CubeSats for European universities. Italy is paying for some 60 per cent of Vega development. Quoted in Space News, Enrico Saggese, the president of the Italian Space Agency noted that a successful Vega launch Saggese will help free up resources at ESA to prepare for the next-generation Ariane rocket, the Ariane 6. (UPDATED Dec 2011)

Vega Launch Pushed to January (SpaceNews 21 Sep 2011)

Launch pad development could delay Vega until 2011 (Spaceflight Now 18 Jan 2010)

Italian Space Agency Expects Budget To Remain Flat for 2010 (Space News 15 Jan 2010)

Date written/update: 2012-01-26