Press Release

Vega contract signals new step forward in the partnership between Arianespace and ELV

By SpaceRef Editor
May 14, 2004
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Evry, France, May 14, 2004–On Thursday, May 13, 2004, Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, signed a contract in the presence of Silvano Casini, representing the company ELV, concerning the definition and development of the operations required for the integration of the Vega launcher and preparation for its launch from Kourou, French Guiana, as well as validation of these operations on an inaugural launch. These operations fall within the scope of the Vega development program, assigned by the European Space Agency to ELV. They are in line with the operational organization guidelines defined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Arianespace and ELV onJune 19, 2003at the last Paris Air Show. According to this agreement, ELV will be in charge of vehicle integration, while Arianespace will take charge of the preparation and integration of payloads, launch preparation, final countdown and launch.

According to Silvano Casini, this contract signals a significant new phase in a program that is now well under way, since the first stages for the qualification flight are now in production.

For Jean-Yves Le Gall, the contract will enable Arianespace to prepare for its role as operator of the Vega launch system. Along with Ariane and Soyuz, this new launcher will be part of the range of three launchers to be operated from Kourou starting in 2007.

The Vega launcher comprises three solid propulsion stages and a fourth stage with a reignitable liquid-propellant engine. It will start operations in 2006. Vega will primarily be used to launch scientific and Earth observation payloads. It offers payload capacity of 1,500 kg into a polar orbit at 700 kilometers altitude.

About ELV

Based in Colleferro,Italy, ELV is the industrial prime contractor for the Vega program. Vega is a European Space Agency (ESA) program, financed by Italy, France,Spain,Belgium, the Netherlands,Switzerland and Sweden. Shareholders are FiatAvio (with 70%) and the Italian space agency (30%).

About Arianespace (

Arianespace is the world’s commercial launch services leader holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed 253 launch contracts and has launched 219 primary satellite payloads. The company’s headquarters is located in Evry, nearParisand launch operations are performed from the Spaceport in Kourou,French Guiana(South America).

SpaceRef staff editor.