Vega is an ESA project for a small, solid-fueled launcher for low earth orbit payloads. It is compatible with payload masses ranging from 300 kg to 2500 kg, depending on the type and altitude of the orbit required by the customers. The benchmark is for 1500 kg into a 700 km-altitude polar orbit.
The Vega launch vehicles is launched from the refurbished ELA-1 complex, now redesignated ELV, at Kourou.
For the basic Vega launch vehicle, the first stage was originally a two-segment version of the Ariane-5 booster, but later in the development process the complete new P80FW first stage was developed. The second and third stages are versions of the italian Zefiro motor, namely the Z23 and Z9. A liquid fuel propulsion module called AVUM forms stage 4, which is powered by a Ukrainian RD-843 engine of R-36M2 heritage.
Due to the reignitable fourth stage, Vega is able to place multiple payloads into orbit. In particular, it offers configurations able to handle payloads ranging from a single satellite up to one main satellite plus six microsatellites.
The improved Vega-C introduces some new motors. The first stage will consist of the P120C motor, which will also be used for the Ariane-6 launcher. As second stage, the larger diameter Zefiro-Z40 will be introduced. The third stage is an updated version, while the AVUM will get 150 kg more fuel, 100 kg less in structural mass and will be called AVUM+. A new 3.3 m fairing is also introduced.
Vega-C is planned for a maiden flight in 2019.
|Version||Stage 1||Stage 2||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Vega-C||P120C||Zefiro-Z40||Zefiro-Z9A||AVUM+ / RD-843|
|Vega-E||P120C||Zefiro-Z40||MIRA / LM10-MIRA||-|
No: TNr: Type: Serial: Date: LS Payload
none Planned: x x Vega-C xx.xx.2023 Ko ELV Biomass x x Vega-C ? xx.xx.2023 Ko ELV CO3D 1 / CO3D 2 / CO3D 3 / CO3D 4 / ? x x Vega-C xx.xx.2024 Ko ELV CSG 3 x x Vega-C xx.xx.2025 Ko ELV FLEX / ALTIUS x x Vega-C xx.xx.2022 Ko ELV KOMPSAT 7 1 1 Vega-C VV21 xx.07.2022 Ko ELV LARES 2 / AstroBio CubeSat / GreenCube / CELESTA / MTCube 2 / ALPHA / ? x x Vega-C or Vega xx.xx.2023 Ko ELV LUXEOSys x x Vega-C VV22 xx.xx.2022 Ko ELV Pléiades-Neo 5 / Pléiades-Neo 6 x x Vega-C xx.1H.2023 Ko ELV Sentinel 1C x x Vega-C or Vega xx.xx.2022 Ko ELV THEOS 2 HR Rideshare payloads (unassigned): TBD: MicroCarb; StriX TBD; TRITON Launch sites: Ko = Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG), Kourou, French Guiana