On February 13, 2012 at 10:00 UTC the first "Vega” rocket was launched from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, successfully injecting nine satellites into orbit and inaugurating a new capability in Europe's growing launcher family.
The payload consisted of two Italian satellites - ASI’s LARES laser relativity satellite and the University of Bologna’s ALMASat-1 - as well as seven picosatellites provided by European universities: e-Star (Italy), Goliat (Romania), MaSat-1 (Hungary), PW-Sat (Poland), Robusta (France), UniCubeSat GG (Italy) and Xatcobeo (Spain).
Vega is compatible with payload masses ranging from 300 kg to 2,500 kg, depending on the type and altitude of the orbit required by the customers. Arianespace started work on the vehicle in 2003 with ELV SpA (Italy) being the lead manufacturer.
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