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Photos: Meet Vega, Europe's New Rocket

Vega in Mobile Gantry

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

ESA's new Vega small launcher stands in the mobile gantry at Europe's spaceport in French Guiana in April.

LARES Satellite

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

The LARES laser relativity satellite from Italy’s ASI space agency undergoes preparations at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

View of Vega Rocket from Mobile Gantry

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

A view from the mobile gantry at Europe's spaceport in French Guiana shows ESA's new Vega small launcher.

Hoisting of Vega's Payload Composite

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

In February 2011 a full-scale mock-up of the new Vega launcher was assembled on the vehicle’s launch pad at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Vega assembly was completed with the addition of the payload composite, comprising a payload mock-up, the payload adapter and the fairing. The composite was first transferred from the payload preparation building to the launch zone and then hoisted onto the vehicle.

P80 First Stage Transfer

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

A mock-up of Europe's Vega launcher first stage was transferred on October 26, 2010, from the Booster Integration Building to the Vega Launch Zone at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. The ground segment elements that were used for the transfer and the integration of the P80 stage onto the launch table included the dolly interface, the upper and lower pallets and the anti-vortex shedding ring.

LARES Preparations

ESA, CNES, Arianespace, Optique Video du CSG, S. Martin

The LARES laser relativity satellite from Italy's ASI space agency undergoes preparations at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. LARES will be launched on board the maiden flight of ESA's new, small Vega launcher in January 2012.

Vega on Launch Pad

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

ESA's new Vega small launcher has taken the next step towards its maiden flight.

LARES Satellite in Preparation

ESA, CNES, Arianespace, Optique Video du CSG, S. Martin

The LARES laser relativity satellite from Italy's ASI space agency undergoes preparations at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

Zefiro 9-A Rocket Motor Test Firing

ESA - S. Corvaja, 2011

On 23 October, the Zefiro 9-A rocket motor successfully completed its first firing test at the Salto di Quirra Inter-force Test Range in Sardinia (Italy). This test is a significant step towards the ESA Vega launcher's qualification flight. After a nominal 120-second burn time, during which a maximum combustion pressure of 75 bar was reached, the roar of the motor stopped as expected. The first results confirm the expected performance increase for this enhanced version of the motor, as well as the robustness of the modifications introduced in the nozzle design.

Successful Firing of Vega's First-stage Motor in Kourou

ESA/CNES-SOV

Vega's first-stage motor came to life on November 30, 2006, when it was ignited for its first static firing test at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana.

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