Arianespace has signed a contract with ELV/AVIO for 10 Vega and Vega C launchers on the sidelines of the 34th French-Italian summit on Sept. 27.
The signing ceremony was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Paolo Gentiloni, the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic, at the Prefecture du Rhône, in Lyon, France.
Today’s contract was signed by Giulio Ranzo, CEO of AVIO, a signatory on behalf of ELV; and Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace’s Executive Vice President, Missions, Operations and Purchasing.
These 10 additional Vega and Vega C launchers will enter service starting in 2019, from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).
Following the successes of the 10 Vega missions to date, with 10 more launches already in the Arianespace order book, today’s contract confirms the long-term viability of the Vega light launcher, now established as the leading launch vehicle in its class. Vega is especially well suited to the launch of scientific or Earth observation satellites into low or Sun-synchronous orbits. It is fully available for European government and institutional missions and offers equally high performance for other customers.
The higher-performance Vega C version will offer increased payload weight and volume, enabling it to carry out an even broader range of missions, from nano-satellites to larger optical and radar observation satellites – making it even more competitive.
Three of the first Vega C launchers have already been assigned to missions:
- Two to orbit satellites in the Airbus Earth observation constellation, with contracts signed in June during the 2017 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
- One to launch a second-generation COSMO-SkyMed satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of the Italian ASI space agency and the Italian Ministry of Defense.
Vega is part of the Arianespace launcher family, alongside the Ariane 5 heavy launcher and the Soyuz medium launcher, operated from the Guiana Space Center. The Vega launch system was developed through an ESA program financed by Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.
ELV, a public-private joint venture owned by Avio (70%) and the Italian space agency (30%) based in Colleferro Italy, is the industrial prime contractor for Vega. The company is now responsible for all launcher preparations up to liftoff. Vega C will be operated under the same arrangements for its planned service entry in 2019.
Arianespace retains full responsibilities for customer relations, as well as for the final countdown operations and the launch decision.