Editor’s note: Arianespace canceled the planned October 6 launch of its Vega rocket late in the countdown clock. The company is currently conducting checks to determine whether or not it will attempt a launch 9:36 PM EST on October 7.
A Vega rocket may launch 12 satellites into orbit tonight (October 7) in its first mission of the year, and you can watch the event live.
The Vega spacecraft, operated by France-based Arianespace, is scheduled to lift off from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana tonight, October 7, at 10:00 p.m. 9:36 PM EDT (0136 GMT October 8). Arianespace officials said in a statement that the mission’s October 6 launch attempt was canceled when a “red state” halted the countdown at the last minute due to a measurement on the Vega rocket that was “slightly above maximum.” .
“Additional examination is being conducted to confirm a new launch attempt on Saturday 7 October at 10.36 pm (local time in Kourou – 01.36 am on 8 October UTC),” officials wrote. You can watch the launch live tonight here on Space.com, courtesy of Arianespace, OR Directly through the companyif Vega continues to be released.
Related: The Vega rocket launches an Earth observation satellite and four cubesats into orbit
The 100-foot (30 m) Vega is designed to lift relatively small payloads. It is capable of carrying 3,300 pounds (1,500 kg) into a circular orbit 435 miles (700 kilometers) above Earth, according to Arianespace spec sheet.
The Vega spacecraft debuted in February 2012 and has flown 22 times so far, which explains the name Arianespace has given tonight’s mission: VV23. The flight will be the first for the standard Vega version since November 2021.
Its updated and more powerful cousin, Vega-C, has flown twice since then, in July 2022 and December 2022. The last of those two Vega-C missions – the second ever – ended in failure, due to a faulty nozzle. Used in the second stage of the rocket.
There are two main payloads going up on VV23: THEOS-2 (“Thai Earth Observing System-2”), a 919-pound (417 kg) Earth-imaging satellite that will be used by the government of Thailand; and FormoSat-7R/Triton, developed by the Taiwan Space Agency.
The 531-pound (241 kg) FormoSat-7R/Triton rocket is “equipped with a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS-R) reflectometry system, which collects signals bouncing off the sea surface,” Arianespace said. he wrote in a press release. “It helps scientists calculate the wind field over the oceans. This data will be shared with the global meteorological community, contributing to the prediction of hurricane intensity and path.”
VV23 will also lift another 10 payloads for six different customers, which you can read more about in the press release. In all, the 12 satellites that will be launched tonight weigh 2,738 pounds (1,242 kg), according to Arianespace.
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