Zefiro 9 is the motor used in the third stage of the Vega Launcher. Designed and built exclusively with Avio technologies, it is 3.5 metres tall, has a diameter of slightly less than 2 metres, weighs 11.5 tonnes and burns 9 tonnes of solid propellant.
Zefiro 9 starts up when Vega reaches an altitude of 100 Km and propels the launcher to the 250 Km level in only two minutes.
The final qualifying bench-test firing of Zefiro 9A was performed in May 2010. The Zefiro 9A is an updated version of the motor that powers the third stage of the launcher. This test, which was carried out at the Poligono Interforze di Salto di Quirra (Salto di Quirra Interforce Firing Range) in Sardinia, confirmed that Zefiro 9A is one of the best performing rocket motor in terms of thrust.