The Italian Space Agency has launched a new initiative to strengthen Italy’s space expertise by leveraging domestic companies to build spacecraft that complement pan-European programs.
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.
Arianespace has finalized the payload for a Vega launch later this year that will carry more than 40 small satellites, the first in what the company hopes to be a series of dedicated rideshare missions.
European launch provider Arianespace conducted its third launch of the year March 21, orbiting a remote-sensing satellite for the Italian Space Agency on a Vega rocket.
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.
European launch provider Arianespace is planning to conduct a record number of Vega launches this year, and, if OneWeb is ready, a return to launching from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
An Arianespace Vega rocket launched the Mohammed 6-B satellite for Morocco the evening of Nov. 20, placing the satellite in the same orbit as its twin satellite Mohammed 6-A that launched a year ago, also on a Vega rocket.
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.