by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 8, 2011
Europe's new Vega rocket, which can place a 1.5-ton satellite into low-Earth orbit, is expected to see its first launch early next year, Arianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall said Thursday.
"We will have the first launch in January or February, Le Gall told AFP in Washington, while noting that he expected to sign contracts soon for the Italian-built rocket.
Vega, which broadens the range of European launch vehicles with a smaller rocket, is expected to carry a scientific satellite named Ares on its first mission.
The European Space Agency has planned a series of five Vega launches from the space center in French Guiana.
Vega, with a payload capacity of 1.5 tons, is to be deployed from the launchpad of the old Ariane-1 rocket. ESA had hoped to have the rocket take its maiden flight by the end of 2009.
Le Gall said the global economic slowdown has so far had a limited impact on the number of launches.
"Just because there is an economic crisis it does not mean people stop watching television or using their iPads," he said.
He noted that Arianespace would participate in the launch of a Soyuz rocket later this year from the Russian space center.
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Lockheed Martin Selected USAF for Reusable Booster System Flight Demonstrator Program
Denver CO (SPX) Dec 08, 2011
Lockheed Martin has been selected by the U.S. Air Force for a contract award to support the Reusable Booster System (RBS) Flight and Ground Experiments program. The value of the first task order is $2 million, with a contract ordering value of up to $250 million over the five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract period. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Air ... read more
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