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A small launcher for Europe

With Ariane 5, Europe has its own high-performance, cost-effective heavy-lift launcher capable of orbiting the heaviest satellites.

But while the trend is towards bigger payloads, there is also a growing market for small satellites. In 1998, ESA started development of a small solid-propellant launcher called Vega to meet this need.

The objective is to provide quick, easy and affordable access to space.

To this end, Vega will complement the Ariane and Soyuz families, designed to orbit heavier payloads, and will enable launch operator Arianespace to offer customers a complete range of services. Europe's independant launch capability will thus be enhanced.

7 nations are contributing to Vega’s development: Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Like Ariane, Vega will operate from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. At the Guiana Space Centre, work to accommodate the new rocket began in late 2004.
Initiators ESA and ASI (Italian Space Agency)
Approved  ESA council in June 1998 (proposed by Italy)
Participants Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Objective Develop a small low-cost launcher to complemente Ariane and Soyuz
Status  In development 
1st flight  2012

Updated: March 2011



Vega successful launch !

May 07, 2013

The second flight of ESA’s newest launch vehicle has been completed from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana to deploy the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 satellite payloads.


The 2nd Vega launch postponed by 24 hours

April 26, 2013

To carry out additional checks on the mobile gantry system used on the Vega launch complex (SLV), the European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace have decided to postpone the Vega launch VV02 for 24 hours on 3 May (Kourou), 4 May (Paris).


Mission accomplished for Vega

February 13, 2012
Today, Monday 13 February, Europe’s new Vega light launcher made a flawless maiden flight from French Guiana, successfully orbiting its payload of 9 small satellites.