Vega to orbit LISA Pathfinder for the European Space Agency

For the 11th launch of 2015 from the Guiana Space Center, the Vega light launcher on its overall sixth mission, this time on behalf of ESA, will orbit the LISA Pathfinder technology demonstrator, into an elliptical low earth orbit for a mission to the L1 Lagrange point.

With this seventh launch of the year overall for European Governments, this time focusing on space research and science, Arianespace, once again, reflects the company's assigned mission of ensuring independent access to space for Europe.

The launch will be carried out from the Vega launch complex (SLV) in Kourou, French Guiana.

Targeted orbit:  Elliptic low earth orbit for a mission to the L1 Lagrange point (at 1.5 million km from Earth)
Perigee: 207 km
Apogee: 1,540 km
Inclination: 5.96 degrees.

Liftoff is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at exactly:

  • 01:15:00 a.m. (local time in French Guiana),
  • 11:15:00 p.m. (Washington, DC), on December 1st
  • 04:15:00 a.m. (UTC),
  • 05:15:00 a.m. (Paris).

The mission, from liftoff to release of the satellite, will last 1 hour, 45 minutes and 33 seconds.

The launcher will carry a total payload of 1,986 kg, including 1,906 kg for the LISA Pathfinder satellite, which will be injected into its targeted orbit.

The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, November 30, 2015 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

LISA Pathfinder
Developed by ESA, the LISA Pathfinder technology demonstrator will pave the way for future spaceborne gravitational-wave observatories that will ultimately observe and precisely measure gravitational waves, "ripples in the fabric of space-time" predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

LISA Pathfinder is the first step toward observing Einstein’s gravitational waves from space. Its mission objective is to test the innovative technologies needed to directly detect these distortions.

Source: Arianespace
Date: Nov 26, 2015