Avio spokesperson Francesco Delorenzo told SpaceNews that Vega was cleared for the upcoming Vega VV18 mission during a March 3 flight readiness review.
The head of Arianespace asked European governments to provide his company with more support in order to balance what he called government support of American competitors “with no precedent.”
An independent investigation of a Vega launch failure in November confirmed that misconnected cables in the rocket’s upper stage doomed the mission and made recommendations to allow a return to flight in early 2021.
The head of Italian rocket manufacturer Avio assured customers Nov. 19 that the company was working hard to return Vega to service following the rocket’s second failure in its last three launches.
European launch provider Arianespace conducted a successful return-to-flight mission of Vega, its light-lift rocket, on Sept. 2, completing the vehicle’s first launch in 14 months.
Arianespace announced early Wednesday that it has pushed back the small launch vehicle's upcoming mission, carrying 53 smallsats, until at least Aug. 17.
Japanese synthetic aperture radar (SAR) company Synspective announced April 14 it will launch its first satellite with Rocket Lab after initially selecting Arianespace for that mission.
Since 60% of Avio’s revenue comes from manufacturing, the French government’s March 16 decision to suspend launches from the Guiana Space Center shouldn’t impact revenues as long as Europe’s South American spaceport reopens within two to three months, Ranzo said.
Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said Airbus, the satellite’s manufacturer, asked to switch from Vega to Soyuz to avoid further delays getting Falcon Eye 2 into orbit.
Arianespace is poised to launch up to 22 missions this year, a number that would nearly double the company’s record.