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Vega launcher makes it 12 in a row
Vega lifts off with Aeolus. © ESA-CNES-Arianespace / Optique vidéo du CSG – S. Martin

Vega launcher makes it 12 in a row

Arianespace has successfully launched the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Aeolus satellite, as it prepares for the arrival of Vega C next year.

Arianespace has successfully launched the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Aeolus satellite, the first space mission designed to acquire profiles of Earth’s winds on a global scale.

The launch took place on 22nd August at 6:20 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). The launch was originally scheduled for the previous day but was postponed due to ... strong winds.

Today’s launch was the fifth of the year for Arianespace, the first with Vega and the 12th successful launch in a row of this light launcher since it was introduced in 2012. It also marked the 50th mission performed by Arianespace for ESA.

Aeolus is the first space mission designed to measure wind profiles across the entire planet. It will deliver data and 3D dynamic maps that will help improve weather forecasting and climate research.

Three more Arianespace missions for Earth observation and environmental monitoring are scheduled in 2018, using all three launchers in the family.

Arianespace’s next mission for ESA will be the launch of BepiColombo, a major scientific mission to explore the planet Mercury. BepiColombo is expected to lift off on an Ariane 5 in October this year.

Arianespace’s backlog includes nine missions for the Vega and Vega C launcher versions: one-third for European institutions and two-thirds for export customers. The new-generation Vega C is scheduled to make its first flight planned in 2019. Vega C will offer higher performance in terms of payload capacity (weight and volume) and greater flexibility to handle a wider range of missions (from nanosatellites to large optical and radar observation satellites).

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