The Italian PRISMA Earth observation satellite is set to ride a Vega launcher into a 382-mile-high (615-kilometer) orbit Thursday night from French Guiana on a mission that will take less than one hour from liftoff until spacecraft separation.
Liftoff is scheduled for March 21 at 9:50:35 p.m. EDT (0150:35 GMT on March 22) from the Vega launch pad at the Guiana Space Center, located on the northeastern coast of South America. The Vega launcher, primarily developed and built in Italy, will head north over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the PRISMA imaging satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit flying from pole-to-pole.
It will be the 14th flight of a Vega rocket, and the first Vega mission of 2019.
The 377th Delta rocket begins its journey to space carrying a military communications satellite funded by Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and New Zealand in a deal that gives the allies access to the U.S. military’s worldwide Wideband Global SATCOM system.
A communications satellite built for the South Korean military arrived at Cape Canaveral this week from an Airbus factory in France to begin final preparations for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in July.
India debuted a new configuration of its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, featuring four strap-on boosters and an upper stage with solar arrays to generate electrical power, with a liftoff at 0357 GMT Monday (11:57 p.m. EDT Sunday). The mission lofted an Indian military satellite and 28 nanosatellites for companies in the United States, Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland.