For those who aren’t familiar with the Spaceflight, they are a company which offers cost-effective launch services and mission management to entities wishing to get equipment such as satellites into space without having to fully invest in a vehicle capable of doing so.
A few days ago, on April 17th, Arianespace, a launch provider based in Europe, announced that Spaceflight industries are set to launch a handful of CubeSats along with a microsatellite. A new adapter created specifically for CubeSats and other little satellites will be used during the operation. The adapter was designed in order to equip Vega with the much smaller than normal satellites. Arianespace also announced a second Vega flight scheduled in roughly a year from now.
The Vega endorsement is a huge success for Avio and Arianespace, the builders and marketers of Vega, as well as for the European Space Agency in general. The ESA has been providing funds as well as aiding in the product development department in order to ensure Vegas ability to compete in launching these smaller yet very lucrative satellite missions. These two recently announced SSMS missions are the first contract between Arianespace and Spaceflight. The later being an organizer of rideshares which has so far procured and launched over 120 small satellites on Indian, Russian, and U.S. rockets.
Arianespace and Avio how to increase the competitiveness of the Vega rocket, specifically with the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. 104 small satellites were launched in a single mission by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle last year alone, so the hopeful backers of Vega have their work cut out for them, to say the least. The contract for the upcoming two rideshare opportunities is only the beginning.
The ESA began working on the new modular carbon fiber dispenser two years ago with the approval of the European Commission. The first SSMS mission being initially planned for the latter part of 2018, has since been moved back to sometime next year due to a large number of the companies previously established commitments to other customers.
To date, Vega has carried out 11 successful operations. Most of which were government funded science missions. The most eye-catching of these missions were launched in 2016 when Vega carried a satellite for the government of Peru into space as well as four SkySat satellites for then Google-owned Terra Bella