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Space Science Technology

ESA's Vega Launcher Has Successful Maiden Flight 32

Zothecula writes "The European Space Agency's new Vettore Europeo di Generazione Avanzata — or Vega — launch vehicle lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 10 a.m. GMT on February 13 on its maiden flight. Designed for launching small payloads, Vega is intended to complement Europe's existing family of launchers that includes the Ariane 5 heavy-lifter and Soyuz medium-class launchers. The qualification flight, designated VV01, saw the first Vega successfully carry nine satellites into orbit."
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ESA's Vega Launcher Has Successful Maiden Flight

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  • Hope they do better than Chevy's Vega.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Great. Now I have Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega going through my head. Better than Luka, I guess.
  • Why is "Europe's Spaceport" in South America? Isn't that South America's Spaceport?
    • Why is "Europe's Spaceport" in South America? Isn't that South America's Spaceport?

      Mind your own business ....

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:03PM (#39038183)

      Why is Hawaii part of the United States of America? It's not in America?

      Although it is geographically in South America, French Guiana is an overseas region of France, and hence considered to part of the EU politically.

      As to why ESA put their spaceport there: You want to launch eastward (to get the best "speed boost" from Earth's rotation), and you get the best boost at (or near) the equator. You also want to launch over water, in case the thing comes back down unexpectedly. French Guiana is close to the equator and has an ocean to the east -- mainland Europe has neither.

    • by Dusty ( 10872 )

      Why is "Europe's Spaceport" in South America? Isn't that South America's Spaceport?

      "Europe's Spaceport" [] is in Kourou [], in French Guiana. Which is a French colony in South America.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Those French prisoners have had a devil of a time trying to escape. Nice to see their creativity rewarded with success.

    • It's not South America's because French Guiana is part of France (and thus the EU), in the same way that Hawaii is part of the US despite being gegraphically separate. I.e. unlike with the UK and a lot of other European countries France has made their former colonies 'regions' with the same status as the regions in European France.

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        Not all of them. There are more then a few African nations using French that are not of France. And was not Vietnam a french colony at one point?

        • I meant the ones that haven't gone independent, i.e. the status of these regions within France is very different to, say, the status of the British Overseas Territories in the UK's political structure

    • It's Europe's space port because ESA built, paid for and runs the facility.

      As for why it's in SA: Europe wanted a site that was close to the equator (to take advantage of the Earth's rotational speed, and to make launches to GEO easier). Also, Europe isn't a good place to launch rockets from, due to rocket stages impacting downrange.

  • by schlachter ( 862210 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:19PM (#39038357)

    The 9 satellites are expected to fly in a lose formation based on political and trade cooperation. If any satellite fails, the mission will fail. Each satellite will manage it's own fuel, but always report that it's got plenty of fuel, until the moment that it has none. :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Poor countries can put their lightweight satellites to this ESA's launcher system VEGA at lower costs that are affordable for them!.
      And for little time of development!
      And they could have the specifications of the satellites's boxes that the ESA could provide them (engineering dimensions of the payloads).

      Collaborative countries don't need fear the confidentiality of their satellites. ESA could provide mechanisms camera-vigilated (among other mechanisms) that in the time for the launching, from their embassie

      • I don't understand how you managed to generate all this meaningless text from my satirical post above.

        Nonetheless....I am particularly impressed with your claim that

        LOOSENESS and PRIVACYNESS could be compatible.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @09:08PM (#39040055) Homepage

    Bison, Sagat and Balrog.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Today Corriere della Sera, the main Italian daily, was carrying a whole page ad on VEGA. It claimed something like: it's so cheap that your research project could be up here in space.

    So cool!

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"