Vega laucnher with Ukrainian engine sends satellite into orbit to prepare for 2034 eLISA mission
A Vega light rocket with the Ukrainian engine carrying the European Space Agency's Lisa Pathfinder was successfully placed into orbit LISA Pathfinder satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The press service of the State Space Agency of Ukraine reported that the Vega rocket lifted away from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana (South America) at 06:04 Kyiv time.
"The launch was the sixth under the Vega program and the third in 2015," the press service said.
Vega rocket was designed by the ESA jointly with the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Vega was designed to carry up to 1,500 kilograms of payloads to a 700-kilometer circular polar orbit or up to 1,200 kilograms of payloads to a 1,200-kilometer heliosynchronous orbit. The cruise engine for the fourth stage of the rocket RD-868P was designed by Pivdenne Design Bureau and it was made by Pivdenmash state enterprise (both based in Dnipropetrovsk). The test launch of the Vega carrier was success in February 2012, and since May 2013 the ESA started commercial exploitation of the new rocket.
The Ukrainian government and the ESA signed an agreement of cooperation in the peaceful development of outer space in 2008. The ESA unites 17 European countries.
LISA Pathfinder satellite is to test technologies required for the launch of the evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA) in 2034 that will detect gravitational waves.