Artist’s impression of Vega-C launcher in flight. (Credit: ESA-Jacky Huart)
PARIS (ESA PR) — Europe’s new-generation Vega-C small launch vehicle developed by ESA will increase performance and extend current launch capabilities at Europe’s Spaceport.
The solid rocket motors built for Vega-C under contract to Avio have all completed the hot fire tests to qualify them for flight.
The first stage P120C, second stage Zefiro-40 and the third stage Zefiro-9 are all fueled by solid propellant. These motors, together with the AVUM+ liquid propulsion upper module, will allow Vega-C to lift payloads of up to 2300 kg to a reference 700 km altitude in polar orbit.
The P120C first stage will burn for 130 s using 142 t of fuel to deliver a liftoff thrust of about 4500 kN. This will take Vega-C to an altitude of about 60 km in the first phase of flight before the second stage takes over.
Hot firing of P120C solid rocket motor for Vega-C. (Credit: ESA/CNES)
Europropulsion, owned jointly by Avio and ArianeGroup, built three P120C models for test. One development and two qualification models have all been static fired successfully at Europe’s Spaceport.
The first qualification model, in the Vega-C configuration, was hot ...