Behind the impressive sight of a launcher awaiting liftoff lie years of work and a complex infrastructure. To put that infrastructure in place ESA needs European industries and offers them the opportunity of being at the cutting edge of space technology and services.
The VEGA Ground Segment Industry Day will take place on 19 March at ESRIN, just outside Rome. This will give representatives of industry an opportunity to learn more about the new opportunities that will open up with the development of Vega – ESA’s newest launcher scheduled to make its first launch in 2005 – and the infrastructure and services required to send Vega into space.

On the agenda are presentations on the Vega programme and its ground segment components, as well as information on how to go about doing business with ESA. Participants will also have plenty of opportunity to ask questions about the VEGA programme and ESA procurement procedures.

Vega is Europe’s newest launcher. It will complete the Ariane family and fill a niche in the market for launchers capable of placing small satellites, such as those used for Earth observation missions, into polar and low-Earth orbits cost-efficiently and quickly.

To keep development costs to a minimum, Vega will use some of the existing launch facilities and services at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou. However, these will have to be adapted and developed, and new amenities and services will be required. Among these are facilities to check and integrate the launcher and prepare the satellites, a centre to control launch operations, and services for post-flight analysis, both in French Guiana and Europe.

To obtain the agenda and an invitation to this one-day meeting, or to talk to one of the Vega team about this event, please contact:

Irene Maik

Tel: +39 06 94180801


Although there is a growing tendency for satellites to become larger, there is still a need for a small launcher to put 300 to 2000 kg satellites, for scientific and Earth observation missions, into polar and low-Earth orbits cheaply and quickly. Europe’s answer to these needs is Vega, named after the 2nd brightest star in the northern hemisphere. Vega will make access to space easier, quicker and cheaper. Costs are being kept to a minimum by using some of the technologies already developed for Ariane launchers. Vega will also be able to make use of the existing launch facilities at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou.
Vega has been designed as a single body launcher with three solid propulsion stages and an additional liquid propulsion upper module for attitude and orbit control, and satellite release.
Development of the Vega launcher started in 1998 and the first launch is planned to take place in 2005.