after the successful launch of +NASA few days ago, +European Space Agency, ESA scores a second flight with the newest launch vehicle, Vega 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.
After releasing the first satellite Proba-V, the upper stage performed a third burn and the top half of the egg-shaped Vega Secondary Payload Adapter was ejected. After a fourth burn to circularize the orbit at an altitude of 704 km, VNREDSat-1A was released around 2 hours into flight. ESTCube‑1 was ejected from its dispenser few minutes later.
ESTCube-1 is Estonia’s first satellite. This 1.3 kg CubeSat was designed and built by students from the University of Tartu with a contribution from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. It will deploy a 10 m-long tether to demonstrate electrostatic movement through the plasma flow, which could lead to electrostatic solar sails for propellant-less interplanetary travel.