Arianespace’s Vega continued its track record of success tonight, orbiting five new sets of “eyes” that will observe the planet Earth in very high resolution: a cluster of four SkySat satellites for U.S.-based operator Terra Bella and the Peruvian PerúSAT-1 spacecraft.
Lifting off from the Spaceport’s SLV launch site at 10:43:35 local time in French Guiana – the planned precise moment of launch – Vega lofted its multi-satellite payload during a flight lasting approximately 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Designated Flight VV07, the mission was Vega’s seventh since beginning operations in 2012 (all seven of which were successful), and it further demonstrated the capabilities of a light-lift vehicle that completes Arianespace’s launcher family – joining the company’s medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5 in reliable side-by-side operations from the Spaceport in French Guiana. Vega is provided to Arianespace by Italy’s ELV S.P.A., which is the industrial prime contractor.
Tonight’s success also marked the first time since entering its commercial phase that Vega carried passengers on a single launch for two customers/users that are from outside the European market: Terra Bella is a Google company and the four SkySat satellites are its initial payloads entrusted to Arianespace; while PerúSAT-1 was orbited under a turnkey agreement between Airbus Defence and Space and Peru’s CONIDA national space agency.