At Kourou, French Guiana, preparations continue apace for the next flight of the Vega launcher, which will soon carry out its tenth mission, the second one of 2017. Vega has completed the integration phase, with the assembly of the P80 solid propellant first stage, the Zefiro 23 second stage, the Zefiro 9 third stage, the AVUM (Attitude and Vernier Upper Module) liquid propellant fourth stage, and the upper part containing the satellites. The propellant loading operations are currently underway.

The launch starts on 1 August at 10:58 p.m. local time, 3:58 a.m. on 2 August in Rome. Vega will place into orbit two Earth observation satellites: OPTSAT-3000 and VENµS. The two satellites will be positioned in the nose cone using the VESPA (Vega Secondary Payload Adaptor) device: OPTSAT in the upper part and VENµS in the lower part.

VENµS (Vegetation and Environment on a New Micro Satellite) is designed to provide detailed and constant monitoring of the vegetation on Earth’s surface. Observing the growth of plants and their state of health, the satellite will help scientists to determine the impacts on Earth’s surface of environmental factors, human activity, and climate change. The other Earth observation satellite, OPTSAT-3000, will enable national defence entities to acquire and use high-resolution images from any part of the globe.

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