NAOS

Launch Overview

Liftoff Time
January 31, 2024 - 00:00 GMT (00:00 UTC)

Who is Arianespace?

Arianespace SA is a multinational company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial launch service provider. It undertakes the operation, and marketing of the Ariane programme. Their vehicles launch exclusively from French Guiana in South America.

What Is Vega-C?

The Vega-C is an updated version of Arianespace’s Vega rocket. Vega-C has 3 solid fuel stages, with a liquid fuelled 4th stage. This new version of the Vega rocket has been optimised for better launch performance and greater launch flexibility.

Vega-C development started in 2014, and ESA conducted its maiden flight in July 2022. The goal of the Vega-C was to meet the changing demand for less pensive launch provider options. 

First Stage

Image Credit: ESA

Vega-C’s first stage uses a single P120C motor, which uses hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as its propellant. The P120C can produce on average 2,261 kN (508,000 lbf), and burns for approximately 280 seconds.

Second Stage

Image Credit: ESA

Vega-C’s second stage uses a Zefiro 40 motor with the same HTPB  propellant as the first stage. The Zefiro 40 engine can produce 1,122 kN of thrust and burns for 287.5 seconds.

Third Stage

Image Credit: Arianespace

Vega-C’s third stage uses a Zefiro 9 motor and the same HTPB propellant as the first and second stages. It provides 413 kN of thrust and burns out after 295.2 seconds. This stage is identical to the 3rd stage of the original rocket

Fourth Stage

Image Credit: Arianespace

Vega-C’s fourth stage is the only liquid fueled engine on the rocket. The 4th stage uses a AVUM+ (Attitude and Vernier Upper Module). The AVUM+ uses hypergolic propellants, unsymmetrical di-methyl hydrazine (UDMH) for fuel and nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) as its oxidizer. The 4th stage can burn for 314 seconds.

Engines

P120C

Zefiro 40

The Zefiro is a family of solid-fuel rocket motors developed by Avio and used on European Space Agency (ESA) Vega rocket. The name Zefire derives from the acronym (ZEro First stage ROcket), conceived when this motor was intended to be used as first and second stages of San Marco program of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). After its intended use as a booster was shelved the acronym was dropped and only the reference to the Greek god of the west wind Zephyrus remained. As of April 2019 two models, Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9A, are used with Vega and the Zefiro 40 is used for Vega-C

Zefiro 9A

The Zefiro is a family of solid-fuel rocket motors developed by Avio and used on European Space Agency (ESA) Vega rocket. The name Zefire derives from the acronym (ZEro First stage ROcket), conceived when this motor was intended to be used as first and second stages of San Marco program of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). After its intended use as a booster was shelved the acronym was dropped and only the reference to the Greek god of the west wind Zephyrus remained. As of April 2019 two models, Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9A, are used with Vega and the Zefiro 40 is used for Vega-C

RD-843

The RD-842 ia a single nozzle,pressure-fed UDMH and nitrogen tetroxide engine used on AVUM and Vega rockets

Complex Overview

Launch Facility
Kourou, French Guiana
Launch Pad
Ariane Launch Area 1
Turnaround Time
4 months

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