Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2020
With this mission, designated Flight VV16, Arianespace underscores its comprehensive range of innovative and competitive services to address the nano- and micro-satellite market sub-segment, serving both institutional and commercial needs. The creation of such a new service using the company’s light-lift Vega led to the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) project.
The European Space Agency (ESA) funded the SSMS hardware development, and also contributed with the European Union to the funding of this “Proof of Concept” (PoC) flight.
The combined European efforts will enhance Arianespace’s response to the rideshare demand with solutions that are perfectly suited to the flourishing small satellite market.
For its fifth mission in 2020, and the first Vega flight of the year, Arianespace will orbit 53 satellites on the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept (PoC) Flight.
Flight VV16 will be performed from the Vega Launch Complex (SLV) in Kourou, French Guiana. VV16’s mission, with 21 customers from 13 countries on board, will serve different types of applications: earth observation, telecommunications, science, technology/education, etc. By choosing Arianespace, all customers are entitled to the same level of quality and reliability. New customers such as laboratories, universities and start-ups are guaranteed the optimum conditions for the launch of their space projects.
The SSMS rideshare concept is now integrated into Arianespace commercial offer, as a new service to address the small satellite market. This Arianespace’s concept – with multiple small satellites from 1 kg. to 500 kg. being flown together on Vega with the objective of sharing the launch cost – has been developed with the support of ESA and Avio. The satellite dispenser is an ESA product developed by Avio under ESA leadership and it is produced by the Czech company, SAB Aerospace s.r.o. (CZ). Satellite integration has been performed for the first time in Europe (Czech Republic).
The European Union contributed to the financing of this PoC flight. For Flight VV16, the Vega launcher will carry seven microsatellites (from 15 kg. to 150 kg.) on the upper portion, along with 46 smaller CubeSats on the lower portion’s Hexamodule. With this new service, Arianespace will be able to respond to the constellation and small satellite market demand thanks to the dual strategy of shared launches on Vega / Vega C and Ariane 6.
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