The second flight of ESA’s newest launch vehicle has been completed from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Two Earth observation satellites, ESA’s Proba-V and Vietnam’s VNREDSat‑1A, were released into different orbits, demonstrating the rocket’s versatility. Estonia’s first satellite, the ESTCube‑1 technology demonstrator, was also released into orbit.
Vega lifted off at 02:06 GMT on 7 May (23:06 local time 6 May; 04:06 CEST 7 May) on a complex mission requiring five upper-stage boosts and lasting about twice as long as its first launch, in February 2012.
The three solid-propellant stages performed flawlessly and, after two burns of the liquid-propellant upper stage, Proba‑V was released into a circular orbit at an altitude of 820 km, over the western coast of Australia, some 55 minutes into flight.