[SatNews] The third Vega has completed its build-up at the Spaceport in French Guiana, allowing final checkout to begin ahead of this lightweight launcher's April 28 mission with the DZZ-HR Earth observation satellite.
Vega's assembly concluded this week with integration of the "upper composite," consisting of DZZ-HR and its protective payload fairing. Installation took place at the Spaceport's ZLV launch site, inside the facility's protective mobile gantry.
Produced by Airbus Defence and Space for the Republic of Kazakhstan's government, DZZ-HR will be deployed into Sun-synchronous orbit on the upcoming Vega flight. Once operational, it is to provide information for a complete range of civil applications, including monitoring of natural and agricultural resources, the provision of mapping data, and support for rescue operations.
Vega is one of three launchers operated by Arianespace at the Spaceport, along with the medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5. Developed in a European Space Agency program led by the Italian ASI space agency and industrial prime contractor ELV SpA., Vega was conceived to orbit small- to medium-sized satellites, including institutional and scientific spacecraft.
The lightweight vehicle has three solid-propellant stages, along with a liquid-propellant upper module for attitude/orbit control and satellite deployment. The ZLV launch site from which it operates originally was used for the Ariane 1 and Ariane 3 vehicles, and has been refurbished for its new role with Vega.
The first Vega launch (designated Flight VV01 in Arianespace's numbering system) was a qualification mission performed in February 2012, carrying the LARES laser relativity satellite, a small ALMASat-1 technology microsatellite demonstrator, and seven CubeSats. It was followed by Flight VV02 in May 2013, which orbited the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 satellites.
Follow Arianespace's launch activity at http://www.arianespace.com/.