Photos: Meet Vega, Europe's New Rocket

Vega Rocket First Launch

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2012

The European Space Agency's first Vega rocket lifts off from Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in a flawless launch debut on Feb. 13, 2012.

Artist's Impression of Vega

ESA - J.Huart, 2011

This artist's impression shows ESA's Vega rocket during launch. Vega is due to launch in January 2012, in what will be its maiden launch, from Kourou, French Guiana.

Vega Rocket Launch Timeline

ESA - J. Huart, 2012

This ESA graphic depicts the flight timeline and major events for the first launch of the new Vega rocket on Feb. 13, 2012.

Artist's View of Vega

ESA-J. Huart

Artist's view of Vega, Europe's new small launcher.

Fully Assembled Vega VV01 on Pad

ESA/S. Corvaja

ESA’s new Vega rocket is now fully assembled on its launch pad. Final preparations are in full swing for the rocket’s inaugural flight. Flight VV01 will lift off from the new Vega launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying nine satellites into orbit: the LARES laser relativity satellite and ALMASat-1 from ASI with seven CubeSats from European Universities. Image released Jan. 26., 2012.

Vega VV01 on Pad in Mobile Gantry

ESA/S. Corvaja

ESA’s new Vega rocket is now fully assembled on its launch pad. Final preparations are in full swing for the rocket’s inaugural flight. Flight VV01 will lift off from the new Vega launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Vega VV01 on Pad with Ariane Lauch Site in Background

ESA/S. Corvaja

ESA’s new Vega rocket is now fully assembled on its launch pad. Final preparations are in full swing for the rocket’s inaugural flight. Flight VV01 will lift off from the new Vega launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying nine satellites into orbit: the LARES laser relativity satellite and ALMASat-1 from ASI with seven CubeSats from European Universities. In the background the Ariane launch site is visible.

Hoisting of Vega's AVUM Fourth Stage

ESA - M. Pedoussaut, 2011

Vega rocket preparations are moving full speed ahead at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. On December 17, 2011, the AVUM – Attitude & Vernier Upper Module – liquid-propellant fourth stage was added to the vehicle.

Vega in Launch Zone

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

ESA's new Vega small rocket stands in the launch zone at Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.

Vega Launcher

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

ESA's new Vega small launcher took the next step towards its maiden flight with completion of a dry-run with a full-scale mock-up at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in April.

Vega Launch Zone

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

ESA's new Vega small launcher took the next step towards its maiden flight with completion of a dry-run with a full-scale mock-up at Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana in April. This rehearsal of the final countdown tested launch operations and the rollout of the mobile gantry. One particular test showed that the vehicle and the pad structure can withstand high winds during the hours before launch.

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