ESA contract to advance Vega-C competitiveness

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16/12/2021
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ESA’s Vega-C launch vehicle will fly in the second quarter of 2022 offering more performance to all orbits and extended mission flexibility at a similar cost to the current Vega. A new contract aims to widen these mission capabilities to capture new opportunities and satisfy emerging market needs to 2027.

The ESA–Avio contract is worth €51 million over two and a half years. The signature event in Paris on 15 December was attended by Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s Director of Space Transportation, and Maurizio Cutroni, Avio’s CCO, on behalf of Guilio Ranzo, CEO at Avio.

“ESA reaches forwards to strengthen future access to space for Europe. This contract for Vega-C contributes to enhance flexibility of the services to the customer and ensures increased competitiveness of our developments,” said Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at ESA.

ESA signs contract with Avio

Under this contract, Avio as prime contractor to ESA for the Vega and Vega-C launcher systems will work with industrial partners to put into action a series of improvements intended to enable Vega-C to meet a wider range of market needs.

These developments will also reduce launch service costs and comply with the payload allocation policy approved by the ESA Council, through the achievement, in the short term, of three major high-level objectives.

The activities are intended to reduce the main production and operation tasks thereby decreasing the launcher system cost by 10% and therefore the Vega-C launch service cost. In particular, it is planned to cut manufacturing costs for mechanical subsystems and components as well as optimise mission preparation and the launch campaign duration.

A wider range of missions will be possible by increasing the launch system performance margins giving higher mission flexibility, still complementary to the Ariane 6 launch system, to cope with specific missions needs and constraints. 

Increasing versatility of the Vega-C launch system services is expected by offering ad-hoc launch services solutions based on a portfolio of available products, including small spacecraft mission services and dual-launch services.

“Avio and ESA have identified and consolidated areas to further increase Vega-C competitiveness during the lead up to commercial exploitation. I thank supporting Member States, the Italian Space Agency and our partners for their trust in Avio,” said Maurizio Cutroni, Chief Commercial Officer at Avio.

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