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Maiden Flight of Vega-C: Top of new European rocket from Beyond Gravity
by Staff Writers
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Jul 13, 2022

Vega-C VV21 LARES-2 livery artists impression.

Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG Space) delivered the payload fairing, the top of the new medium-lift European rocket Vega-C, which will launch tomorrow. Beyond Gravity also produced the launcher computer and the payload adapter system.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 13 July, the new medium-lift European Vega-C rocket is scheduled to lift-off from the European spaceport in Kourou for its inaugural flight. The rocket will launch the "LARES 2" Laser Relativity satellite for the Italian space agency. The spherical satellite enables research into geodynamics and general relativity.

"The first flight of a new rocket is always a very special moment. We have delivered mission-critical products to the rocket with our payload fairing, our payload adapter system and the launcher's onboard computer," says Andre Wall, CEO Beyond Gravity. "Each product is customized for this new rocket and has new, enhanced features." Vega-C replaces the current Vega rocket.

New payload fairing design
The top of the Vega-C rocket, the payload fairing, has a new design. "The fairing is larger than the fairing of the Vega rocket and can accommodate an additional payload mass of 800 kilograms," explains Holger Wentscher, Senior Vice President Launchers at Beyond Gravity.

"Additionally, our fairing includes state-of-the-art technologies that make it more versatile than its predecessor." This also results in reduced launch costs per kilogram. The ogive-shaped fairing at the top of Vega-C protects the satellites from thermal, acoustic, and aerodynamic environment at launch and on the ascent to space.

The 9-meter-high fairing with a diameter of 3.3 meter was produced at Beyond Gravity's site in Emmen, Switzerland. The fairing is made of carbon fibre-polymer composite and 'cured' in an industrial oven. Every single payload fairing for any European rocket comes from Beyond Gravity and is being produced in Emmen.

Vampire payload adapter system for single payloads
Vega-C can be used for one, two or more payloads (satellites) per launch. To place a larger single satellite into space Vega-C uses a payload adapter system called "Vampire" from Beyond Gravity. "We have developed a new design for this adapter, which makes it possible to utilize the maximum performance of the Vega-C launcher. Our adapter makes sure, that the satellite is safely placed into orbit with highest precision," stresses Holger Wentscher.

All payload adapters and separations system from Beyond Gravity are produced at its site in Linkoping, Sweden. The "Vampire" adapter will be used for single large payloads and can be used in combination with smaller payloads on the SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) multiple payload dispenser.

New and improved onboard computer
During flight the Vega-C launcher is controlled by an onboard computer ("brain") from Beyond Gravity. "We have developed a new and improved version of our onboard computer, which is smaller, lighter, and more cost efficient," says Holger Wentscher. The launcher onboard computer is being built at Beyond Gravity's site in Gothenburg. Beyond Gravity also provided all computers for the Vega rockets.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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