A European wind-mapping satellite 15 years in the making lifted off Aug. 22 on a Vega rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
D-Orbit, an Italian company entering the rideshare market, won a deal to launch 10 Astrocast cubesats on a future Vega mission as it develops an advanced, free-flying deployer.
Eurockot’s Launch Services last mission using the Russian-German Rockot launcher took place successfully April 25 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia.
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.
Spaceflight Industries has secured rideshare opportunities on two Vega rocket missions for tiny satellites.
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 Italian Space Agency on Dec. 19 signed Sitael as the prime contractor for a new 200- kilogram small satellite line called Platino, meant to pair Italy’s strength in light launch with an aptly designed product.
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 completed the company’s tenth launch this year Nov. 7, delivering a Moroccan Earth observation satellite to low-Earth orbit on a Vega rocket.
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.
Despite the ongoing development of a fleet of small launch vehicles, both launch providers and customers continue to see demand for flying small satellites as secondary payloads on larger rockets.
Italian launch vehicle producer Avio has raised 60 million euros ($65.6 million dollars) by selling slightly over two thirds of the company’s shares on Italy’s stock exchange.
The spacecraft carries a suite of multi-wavelength sensors for land imaging, and will work with Sentinel-2A launched in 2015.
The recent German-Italian agreement to divide production of casings for the future Ariane 6 rocket’s strap-on boosters, which also serve as the first stage of the Italian-led Vega-C small-satellite launcher, was a victory for political harmony in Europe.
Europe’s Vega small-satellite launcher on Sept. 15 successfully placed five high-resolution optical Earth observation satellites — one for the Peruvian government and four for Google-owned Terra Bella — into low Earth orbit.