Watch Vega Rideshare Launch Live – Premiere SSMS Mission Will Deploy 53 Satellites

Vega VV16 With SSMS Launch

Artist’s view of Vega VV16 with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser and SAT-AIS. Visible are the Zefiro-9 upper stage, the Attitude Vernier Upper Module (AVUM) and the SSMS dispenser with its payload of satellites. Credit: ESA – J. Huart

Tune in to ESA Web TV from 02:36 BST / 03:36 CEST on 2 September to watch the return to flight of Vega on its debut rideshare mission dedicated to light satellites.

Vega will lift off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana carrying 53 satellites on its new dispenser called the Small Spacecraft Mission Service, or SSMS. The mission will last about 124 minutes.

This new ridesharing service is intended to grow space technologies in Europe by making it easier for those with light satellites of 1–500 kg to find convenient launch opportunities. Those riding together share the cost of launch, making it more affordable too. There are 21 customers sharing this launch.

Vega VV16 with SSMS and SAT-AIS

Artist’s view of Vega VV16 with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser and SAT-AIS.
Visible are the Zefiro-9 upper stage, the Attitude Vernier Upper Module (AVUM) and the SSMS dispenser with its payload of satellites. Credit: ESA – J. Huart

Vega will release its 53 satellites progressively in a coordinated sequence into two Sun-synchronous orbits 515 and 530 km above Earth.

ESA has contributed to the development of four payloads on board – the 113 kg ESAIL microsatellite and three CubeSats: Simba, Picasso, and FSSCat which carries pioneering AI technology named Φ-sat-1.

The launch window for this flight extends from 1 to 4 September, taking into consideration weather conditions and allowing for several launch attempts if necessary.

Vega VV16 with SSMS

Artist’s view of Vega VV16 with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser and SAT-AIS.
Visible are the Zefiro-9 upper stage, the Attitude Vernier Upper Module (AVUM) and the SSMS dispenser with its payload of satellites. Credit:
ESA – J. Huart

Liftoff timing for flight VV16:

French Guiana Washington D.C. UTC / GMT Paris and Rome
22:51 on 1 September 21:51 on 1 September 01:51 on 2 September 03:51 on 2 September

Watch live via ESA Web TV 03:36 – 05:00 CEST.

Key moments

03:51 – Liftoff

04:31 – Separation from Vega of the first batch of satellites

04:43 – Separation from Vega of the second batch of satellites including ESAIL

05:32 – Separation from Vega of first CubeSat

05:36 – Final CubeSat separation

05:55 – End of the Vega mission

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