France: French-based Arianespace is gearing up for the seventh launch of the Vega rocket in its series, which will place into orbit PerúSAT-1 and four SkySat satellites. The launcher is scheduled to lift off from the Vega Launch Complex (SLV) in Kourou, French Guiana, at 10:43 p.m. local time on Sept. 15 (9:43 p.m. EDT; 1:43 GMT on Sept. 16).
The mission will carry a payload of approximately 1.23 metric tons. The flight, lasting approximately one hour and 43 minutes, will result in the insertion of the satellites into an elliptical low-Earth orbit (LEO).
The mission campaign started in June with the assembly of the Vega launcher. The teams were busy throughout the month to integrate all four stages of the rocket. After the assembly of the launch vehicle, the engineers conducted the synthesis control test.
The satellites arrived in French Guiana in the first half of August. Fueling operations of all the spacecraft started on Aug. 19, and when this process had concluded, the next step was to integrate the satellites with the payload adapter, which took place on Aug. 25–26.
Next, the PerúSAT-1 spacecraft was lowered onto the Vega Secondary Payload Adaptor (VESPA) prior to encapsulation. SkySat satellites were integrated on VESPA, and on Aug. 31, the stack was encapsulated in a payload fairing to create the upper composite.
One day before the encapsulation, final inspection of the launch vehicle was conducted. The upper composite was installed onto the launcher on Sept. 5, which cleared the way for fueling of the upper stage and the Roll and Attitude Control Subsystem (RACS).
On Sept. 12, the final pressurization and rehearsal of the upper stage took place, and one day later, the arming of the launch vehicle and the payload fairing was carried out.
Launch readiness review is planned to be conducted on Sept. 14. On the same day, final preparations and inspections of the launcher and the fairing will be performed. Countdown operations are scheduled to start nine hours before liftoff.