The two European satellite passengers to be orbited on Arianespace’s next Vega launch – Spain’s SEOSAT-Ingenio and Taranis of France – have been fueled in preparation for next month’s liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Both were “topped off” with their propellant load during separate activity inside the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility.
The upcoming mission is designated Flight VV17, signifying the 17th launch of a lightweight Vega vehicle, which complements Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5 for a complete launcher family to orbit commercial, governmental, institutional, scientific and experimental payloads.
November’s Flight VV17 will mark Arianespace’s seventh mission this year using a member of its launcher family, following three previous flights in 2020 for Ariane 5, two using Soyuz, and the success in September with Vega – which validated the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) shared launch concept.
SEOSAT-Ingenio and Taranis will be deployed from Vega by a VESPA payload dispenser, which was produced by Airbus in Spain for the launch vehicle prime contractor, Avio. Both satellites will operate in similar orbits at an altitude of approximately 700 km.
With an estimated liftoff mass of 840 kg., SEOSAT-Ingenio is the first Spanish satellite with optical technology and will be used for both civil and military applications. It was developed primarily by the Spanish space industry, led by Airbus in Spain as the prime contractor.
SEOSAT-Ingenio is owned by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, with the country’s CDTI (Center for Development of Industrial Technology) leading the spacecraft project by delegation and also assuming its cost. The project’s development has been overseen by the European Space Agency (ESA) as a national contribution within the framework of Europe.
Taranis was funded by the French CNES space agency and will have a liftoff mass in the 200 kg. category. Once in its final orbital location, the smallsat will provide data on the transient luminous events that that occur above thunderstorms between the Earth’s atmosphere and the space environment, particularly such phenomena called sprites, jets and elves.