Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013
Vega's second mission from the Spaceport is scheduled for tonight, with a planned liftoff at exactly 11:06:31 p.m. local time in French Guiana. Arianespace's lightweight launcher will carry three passengers into orbit: the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 satellites.
The mission had been rescheduled following a decision by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace to postpone the launch from May 3 due to high-altitude winds over the Guiana Space Center.
Designated VV02 in Arianespace's numbering system, Vega's second flight will take 2 hours, 48 seconds from liftoff at the Spaceport's SLV launch facility to the deployment of ESTCube-1 - the final spacecraft in its payload "stack."
Proba-V will be deployed first in the flight sequence - 55 minutes and 27 seconds after liftoff. Built for ESA by QinetiQ Space Belgium and weighing 140 kg., the satellite will map land cover and vegetation growth across the Earth every two days and carries an advanced version of the Vegetation instrument.
Vega will deploy VNREDSat-1 at 1 hour, 57 minutes and 24 seconds after liftoff from the satellite's lower position on the VESPA (Vega Secondary Payload Adapter) dispenser system. The 115-kg. VNREDSat-1 was manufactured by Astrium on behalf of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) and will help support the country's creation of an infrastructure to enable better studies of climate change effects, improving prediction for natural disasters, and optimizing natural resource management.
Rounding out the mission is the 1.33-kg cubesat, ESTCube-1, built by a collaboration of Estonian students and developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR). Once in orbit, it will test electric solar wind sail technologies.
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