On the morning of 2 August Arianespace launched a Vega rocket carrying two Earth observation satellites for Italy, France and Israel encased in Vega’s lighter protective fairing.
Liftoff of Vega’s tenth mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana came at 0158 GMT (0358 Central European Summer Time) or 2258 local time on a mission lasting 97 minutes to deliver Optsat-3000 and Venµs into their planned orbits. Optsat-3000 will provide Italy’s Ministry of Defence with global high resolution images. With a mass of 368 kg, it was the first to be released after about 42 minutes. The 264 kg Venµs was released 49 minutes later. Venµs (Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite) sponsored by France and Israel will study vegetation and the environment, and demonstrate a new electrical propulsion system.
Optsat-3000 has a design life of seven years and Venµs four and a half years.