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Vega July 25, 2017

Flight VV10: Vega to launch two Earth Observation Satellites for Italy, Israel and France

For its eighth launch of the year, and the 10th Vega mission since this launcher began its career at the Guiana Space Center in 2012, Arianespace will orbit two Earth observation satellites for civil and military applications: OPTSAT-3000 for the Italian Ministry of Defence; and Venµs, a mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) – a government body sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Science & Technology – and the French CNES space agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales).

This marks the seventh Earth observation mission for the versatile Vega launch vehicle.

The launch will be performed from the Vega Launch Complex (ZLV) in Kourou, French Guiana.

The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, July 31, 2017 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

OPTSAT-3000 is an Earth observation program for the Italian Ministry of Defense. It comprises a high-resolution optical satellite and a ground segment for in-orbit control, mission planning and the acquisition and processing of images.

OPTSAT-3000 will allow national defense entities to acquire and use high-resolution images from any part of the globe. The OPTSAT-3000 system will be interoperable with Italy’s second-generation COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. This will give the Italian Defense Ministry access to state-of-the-art technology, and ensure maximum operational capabilities because of the combined optical and radar data offered by the two systems.

The OPTSAT-3000 system is supplied by prime contractor Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%). Telespazio is responsible for the entire system, including the satellite, ground segment, launch and early orbital operations, preparation and execution of operations and logistics, in-orbit tests and commissioning.

The satellite and ground control systems were built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), chosen by the Italian Ministry of Defense on the basis of an inter-governmental agreement between Italy and Israel. OHB Italia is responsible for the launch services and related engineering support.

OPTSAT-3000 is a three-axis stabilized satellite, highly autonomous and combining reduced weight, low power consumption and high reliability.

Venμs is an Earth observation and exploratory mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) – a government body sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Science & Technology – and the French CNES space agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales).

While the satellite’s designation may sound like the name of a planet, it actually is the acronym for: Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite. By analyzing and comparing images taken from the same location, researchers will be able to assess the state of the soil, understand how vegetation is developing, and detect the spreading of disease or contamination in the field.

The satellite will image vast areas around the globe and provide dozens of images every day, each of them covering approximately 760 square kilometers. Venμs will fly in a Sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit – which enables its return to view each area around the world, exactly at the same time and under the same imagery conditions.

Venμs is equipped with a multi-spectral camera that can capture important details, some of which are not visible to the human eye.

CNES is in charge of the multi-spectral instrument (camera), the image processing and the image distribution ground station. Elbit Electro-Optic Systems, Elop Ltd. developed the camera for CNES.

ISA is in charge of development and integration of the satellite, the platform, the monitoring and control center, and the electrical propulsion system. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was the main integrator of the system, as well as developer of the platform and ground control system.

For further information, download the Launch Kit by clicking here:

To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary from the launch site in French and English), go to on August 1, 2017 starting 15 minutes before liftoff.

You also can follow the launch live on your iPhone or iPad (the Arianespace HD app is free).

About Arianespace 

To use space for a better life on earth, Arianespace guarantees access to space transportation services and solutions for any type of satellite, commercial as well as institutional, into any orbit.

Since 1980, Arianespace has performed missions placing more than 550 satellites into orbit with its three launchers: Ariane, Soyuz and Vega.

Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, France near Paris, and has a facility at the Guiana Space Center 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; the balance is held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

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