. 24/7 Space News .
Ride into space on Vega-C secured for FLEX and Altius
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 12, 2022

Vega-C is more powerful than its predecessor and is capable of a wide range of mission types. It is a single body rocket about 35 m high with a mass at liftoff of 210 tonnes. It is able to place about 2200 kg in a reference 700 km-polar orbit, meeting the needs of European institutions and industry.

A contract signed with Arianespace secures the joint launch for two satellites that will further knowledge of our home planet. Scheduled to lift off on a new class of rocket, ESA's Vega-C, from Europe's Spaceport in mid-2025, FLEX will yield new information about the health of the world's plants and Altius will deliver profiles of ozone and other trace gases in the upper atmosphere to support services such as weather forecasting.

The contract was signed by ESA's Acting Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Toni Tolker-Nielsen, ESA's Director of Space Transportation, Daniel Neuenschwander, and CEO at Arianespace, Stephane Israel.

Both satellite missions are set to bring significant benefits to both science and society.

FLEX is an Earth Explorer research mission. Earth Explorers, which are pivotal to ESA's FutureEO programme, are built to show how pioneering space technology can return novel information about how our planet works as a system and to better understand our rapidly changing world.

Although essentially built for science, many of these missions also deliver information that has direct practical uses. Moreover, once the technology and applications have been proven, Earth Explorers, importantly, provide the sound heritage for future satellite missions designed to provide systematic data for services that benefit daily life.

FLEX will help address one of our biggest challenges: understanding the health of Earth's vegetation, which is critical to improve food security.

The planet's growing global population is placing mounting pressure on the production of food, animal feed, biological fuels and pharmaceutical products. It is estimated that there will have to be more than a 50% increase in agricultural production by 2050 to meet demand. Understanding plant health and productivity is therefore essential to managing resources.

Although photosynthesis is one of the most fundamental processes on the planet, it has not been possible to measure it directly on large spatial scales. However, when plants photosynthesise, they emit a faint fluorescent glow.

This glow is invisible to the naked eye, but, remarkably, it can be measured from space. Carrying a novel instrument called the Fluorescence Imaging Spectrometer, FLEX will measure this fluorescent signal to shed new light on the functioning of our vegetation. The information will be used to assess the functioning, health and stress of plants.

Altius is a smaller class satellite, but it will fill a very important gap in the continuation of 'limb' measurements for atmospheric science. It is being developed within ESA's Earth Watch programme and financed mainly by Belgium with contributions from Canada, Luxembourg and Romania.

This new mission is being built to deliver vertical profiles of ozone and other atmospheric gases.

While the ozone hole over Antarctica has been recovering in recent years, it is still a serious concern. And, needless to say, the understanding and monitoring of Earth's atmosphere, with the rise in greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, is one of the most serious environmental issues humankind is currently facing.

Carrying an instrument that images in the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared channels, the Atmospheric Limb Tracker for Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere, or Altius for short, will measure both stratospheric ozone and other atmospheric trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide and aerosols that affect air quality.

As its name suggests, Altius will not look straight down on Earth, but will observe the atmosphere along Earth's horizon. The 'limb-sounding' technique allows trace gases such as ozone to be profiled so that concentrations can be seen at different altitudes with high vertical resolution.

The contract, now signed with Arianespace, ensures passage into space for these precious satellite missions from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

Both will be taken into orbit on ESA's new Vega-C rocket. Building on the current Vega class, the first Vega-C will first take to the skies in 2022.

Vega-C is more powerful than its predecessor and is capable of a wide range of mission types. It is a single body rocket about 35 m high with a mass at liftoff of 210 tonnes. It is able to place about 2200 kg in a reference 700 km-polar orbit, meeting the needs of European institutions and industry.

While the contract to launch FLEX and Altius assumes they will be launched on the same rocket in mid-2025, there is provision for alternative shared launches should there be a drift in the timing of their relative development processes.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Prestwick Spaceport Files Planning Application Notice
Prestwick, Scotland (SPX) Jan 10, 2022
South Ayrshire Council has started the process of submitting a formal planning application for the Prestwick Spaceport development. The Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) is the first step in the planning process for Prestwick Spaceport and signals the intent to apply for planning permission in early 2022. The submission of the POAN follows the Council's submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report last year which confirms that Prestwick's space ambitions will not result in ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA's newest astronaut class begins training in Houston

Japan space tourist eyes Mariana Trench trip after ISS

CES show highlights: Robo-dogs, self-sailing boat, brain tech

CES tech fair opens under pandemic shadow

Gilmour Space fires up for 2022 with Australia's largest rocket engine test

Indian Space Agency tests cryogenic engine for its first-ever manned mission

Ride into space on Vega-C secured for FLEX and Altius

Astroscale U.S. and Orbit Fab sign first on-orbit satellite fuel sale agreement

NASA's InSight enters safe mode during regional Mars dust storm

Widespread megaripple activity on Martian North Pole

Sol 3354: Tantalizingly Out of Reach

Sol 3353: Raise the (Martian) Roof

Shouzhou XIII crew finishes cargo spacecraft, space station docking test

China to complete building of space station in 2022

CASC plans more than 40 space launches for China in 2022

China's astronauts mark New Year with livestream from space

Advances in Space Transportation Systems Transforming Space Coast

Planet to launch 44 SuperDove satellites on SpaceX's Falcon 9

Advertising plays key role in satellite TV success, study shows

Euroconsult predicts highest government space budgets in decades despite Covid

Mangata Networks announces funding for satellite edge computing network

Take-Two to buy 'Farmville' creator Zynga for $12.7 bn

Metaverse gets touch of reality at CES

Ammonia and paper: Sustainability ideas at CES tech show

Cheops reveals a rugby ball-shaped exoplanet

Elusive atmospheric molecule produced in a lab for the 1st time by UH

From dust to planet: how gas giants form

It all comes down to the first electron

Ocean Physics Explain Cyclones on Jupiter

Oxygen ions in Jupiter's innermost radiation belts

Looking Back, Looking Forward To New Horizons

Testing radar to peer into Jupiter's moons

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.