The European Space Agency is preparing to allocate a few million euros to ensure Vega doesn’t have any repeats of its July launch failure, an agency official said Nov. 20.
Avio CEO Giulio Ranzo said during a Nov. 7 earnings call, said Vega is on track for a return to flight by March, though what payload will launch on the mission is still to be determined.
Investigators think Vega’s failure originated in the forward dome area of the Zefiro-23, the second of three solid-fueled stages the rocket expends to deliver satellites to orbit.
The fifteenth launch of a European Vega rocket ended in failure July 10, resulting in the loss of an imaging satellite for the United Arab Emirates.
Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, the Colleferro, Italy, company that builds the Vega and future Vega C rocket, said the ESA council session included missions for both Avio-built rockets during the transition years to Vega C.
Avio, the company that builds Europe’s light-lift Vega rocket and the future Vega C, reported a double-digit jump in revenue for its first full year as a publicly traded company.
Developers of small launch vehicles, who have promoted their vehicles as providing dedicated access to space for small satellites, say they’re also open to flying rideshare missions as they face competition from larger rockets.
Italian rocket builder Avio is borrowing 10 million euros from the European Investment Bank. The funds will support new space propulsion technologies for Europe’s next-generation Vega C and Ariane 6 launchers, the company said.
European Space Agency member states have agreed to keep all production of P120 solid rocket boosters in Italy instead of opening a second production line in Germany.
The light-lift Vega rocket is Europe’s vehicle of choice for small satellites, but has mainly launched spacecraft weighing hundreds of kilograms. While that’s smaller than what Arianespace normally launches on an Ariane 5 or Soyuz, it’s not the “small” that people generally think of when they think smallsats.
Designers of Europe’s light-lift Vega rocket are creating a slew of new products intended to lure prospective customers away from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and to fend off the coming wave of launch startups that are developing dedicated rockets for cubesats and other small satellites.
The European Space Agency today committed 89.7 million euros ($106.7 million) split between a new advanced iteration of the Vega launcher and the successor to a spaceplane demonstrator that flew in 2015.
Arianespace’s smallest rocket launched two remote sensing satellites co-produced by Israeli and European teams on an Aug. 1 night mission from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.