Monday, 13 February 2012 at 10:00 Universal time saw the successful launch of the first Vega by the European Space Agency (ESA), putting 2 scientific satellites and 7 picosatellites into orbit. Thanks to this historic success, Arianespace now has the largest range of commercial launch services.

Vega, the new European launcher

Vega has been designed to launch payloads of up to 1 500 kg at an altitude of 700 km. This means that Europe now has a new vehicle to launch all its scientific and institutional missions. After the success of this maiden launch, Arianespace will be in charge of the commercialisation and exploitation of Vega.

With Ariane 5, Soyuz, and now Vega, all of which are operated from the GuianaSpaceCenter, Arianespace is the only launch service and solutions company that can place any payload into any orbit: telecommunications satellites, scientific or Earth observation satellites, constellations and missions to the International Space Station.

A historic success

Following this historic success, Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace said: “Bravo Europe! Congratulations to the European Space Agency, to the Italian Space Agency, to the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales and to all our industrials partners. This success comes after 9 years of cooperative development. Well doneEurope!”

Even before this first launch Arianespace and ESA had already signed the first commercial launch service and solutions contract, for the European Union launch of Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 spacecraft on Vega.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading launch service & solutions company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 21 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace offers an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of 13 February 2012, Arianespace had performed 204 Ariane launches (298 payloads), 26 Soyuz launches (24 at Baikonur with Starsem and 2 at the Guiana Space Center) and had prepared the first launch of Vega. It has a backlog of 23 Ariane 5, 15 Soyuz and 2 Vega launches, equal to more than three years of business.