A European Vega rocket deployed six commercial satellites in orbit, including a new Airbus-built eye-in-the-sky for high-resolution Earth-imaging, on a successful launch from French Guiana on Wednesday night after two of the last three Vega missions failed.
After two of the last three Vega rocket launches ended in failure, Arianespace launched another Vega launcher from French Guiana at 9:50 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0150 GMT Thursday) with Airbus’s Pléiades Neo 3 commercial Earth observation satellite and five secondary payloads.
Six satellites are set to ride a light-class European Vega rocket into orbit from French Guiana on Wednesday night, the first Vega launch since a failure last year that officials attributed to human error.
Arianespace announced this week it is organizing a contest open to startups, labs, and universities for a free launch of a nanosatellite on a future rideshare mission, likely on an Ariane 6 or Vega rocket.
Rocket Lab launched seven satellites Monday from New Zealand on a rideshare mission serving the U.S. and Australian militaries and space services startups. A spacecraft developed in-house by Rocket Lab was also aboard to prove out technologies for a NASA moon mission launching later this year.
A commercial mission developed by the Japanese company Astroscale rocketed into space on a Russian Soyuz launcher Monday with 37 other payloads, ready to kick off an orbital “dance” with two small spacecraft demonstrating how satellite sweepers might one day drag junk out of orbit.
Rocket Lab’s second mission of 2021 lifted off at 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT) Monday from New Zealand carrying six small satellites for customers in Australia and the United States, along with a test platform for a NASA small satellite mission to the moon launching later this year.
Sporting a new blue and white paint scheme to mark the upcoming 60th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, a Russian Soyuz rocket loaded with 38 international satellites has rolled out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of a planned liftoff Saturday.
The launch of a NASA spacecraft designed to smash into an asteroid to try out a technique that could protect Earth from threatening space rocks has slipped from July until November, at the earliest, after development delays partially caused by coronavirus-related work slowdowns.