At 01:53 UTC today (2019-07-11) a European Space Agency (ESA) Vega rocket was launched from Arainespace’s site at Kourou, French Guiana, on the east coast of South America. Its payload was the Falcon Eye 1 reconnaissance satellite built by Airbus Defense and Space for the United Arab Emirates. The Italian-built Vega is the smallest launcher operated by ESA, and was to place Falcon Eye 1, with a mass of 1197 kg, in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 611 km.
The Vega is a four stage rocket, with the first three stages solid fuelled and the fourth stage using a hypergolic liquid fuelled engine manufactured in the Ukraine. This was the fifteenth flight of Vega since its introduction in 2012; all of the first fourteen flights were successful. Here’s what happened this time.... [Read More]