Twelfth launch by Arianespace in 2021, the Vega light launcher will lift off, for the third time this year, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on November 16, 2021. It will carry on board three CERES satellites for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
The CERES program comprises three satellites flying in formation in low Earth orbit (LEO). Equipped with high-performance sensors, these satellites also offer all-weather, daily revisit frequency and are capable of collecting data enabling the characterization and location of transmitters. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the space segment, comprising three satellites, and is co-prime with Thales Defence Mission Systems, in charge of the payload and user ground segment. CNES assists DGA for project management; it supplies and operates the satellite control ground segment.
This mission shows once again that Vega is perfectly suited for government applications. Thanks to its versatility and performance, Vega provides the best launch solution for small and medium satellites intended for a wide range of orbits (Sun-synchronous, ballistic, transfer to Lagrange point L1, etc.) and applications (Earth observation, science, learning, defense, etc.).
Ten European countries contribute to Vega, which was developed by ESA, with the Italian space agency ASI as lead contributor and Avio (based in Colleferro, Italy) as the launcher prime contractor. Avio is in charge of all industrial operations up to liftoff. Vega has been part of the Arianespace launcher family since its first flight in 2012.