Rocket Report: Vega-C is a sight to see; will Europe push SpaceX aside?

Europe's Vega-C rocket takes off from a spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on Wednesday.

Enlarge / Europe’s Vega-C rocket takes off from a spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on Wednesday. (credit: European Space Agency)

Welcome to Edition 5.03 of the Rocket Report!  It was a big week for small launch news, with a successful debut for Europe’s Vega-C rocket, a responsive launch by Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle, and a big static fire test by ABL Space Systems’ RS1 rocket. Congratulations to all involved in those projects.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Europe’s Vega-C rocket makes successful debut. Europe’s new Vega-C rocket made its debut flight on Wednesday, carrying an Italian physics satellite and six cubesats, Space News reports. The four-stage rocket launched from Kourou, French Guiana, at the end of a two-hour launch window. Technical issues had twice halted the countdown sequence. The successful mission means that Europe can now start to use the Vega-C rocket for operational launches, starting in November with the Pléiades Neo 5 and 6 Earth-imaging satellites. Arianespace says it has already sold seven Vega-C launches.

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