First launch contract for Vega C: Arianespace to orbit Airbus’ upcoming constellation of observation satellites
Airbus Defence and Space and Arianespace today announced the signature of the launch services contract for the next generation of very-high-resolution optical observation satellites.
Two VEGA C launchers will orbit the four satellites in this constellation from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, as from mid-2020. By delivering images of each point on the globe several times a day, these extremely-agile optical satellites will keep a close watch on our constantly-changing planet.
Airbus Defence and Space is the first commercial customer for the upcoming VEGA C launcher. This enhanced version of the VEGA lightweight vehicle, which continues its brilliant career with nine successful launches out of nine, is now under development with a first flight slated for mid-2019.
Through this launch services contract, the higher-performance VEGA C version demonstrates that it provides a perfect launch solution for even the most advanced Earth observation satellites.
Above all, the contract reflects the continued confidence of Airbus Defence and Space, which was the first commercial customer for the original VEGA version in May 2013, with the launch of the VNREDSat-1 satellite for Vietnam. Since then, Airbus Defence and Space has chosen Arianespace for many other VEGA missions.
“We fully trust Arianespace to orbit our new constellation, which will bolster our service offering and expand our range of services,” said François Lombard, head of the Intelligence Business Cluster at Airbus Defence and Space. “Along with a new-generation ground segment offering multi-mission and massive image processing capacity, our constellation will greatly expand access to higher-precision and more detailed images of Earth.”
“Arianespace is extremely proud to have won this first launch contract for the upcoming VEGA C launcher from our long-standing customer and partner, Airbus Defence and Space,” said Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël.
“We are highly honored by this expression of trust from Airbus Defence and Space. We also are delighted to kick off the VEGA C’s commercial career with a contract reflecting Europe’s continued leadership in very-high-resolution optical observation systems. This contract also is the latest mark of recognition of the quality and reliability of Arianespace’s family of launchers. Our permanent commitment is our customer’s satisfaction.”
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 550 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and VEGA, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of Airbus Safran Launchers, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.