Space: Ranzo (Avio), independent space launch capability is crucial

17/3/2022

Vega retains  european record with 53 satellites launched in a single space flight

"Maintaning an independent launch capability is crucial for economic, strategic and safety reasons: entrusting some particularly important loads or satellites to a foreign company may not guarantee the necessary confidentiality and timeliness requirements. The same would happen if a satellite is no longer used and it is necessary to replace it quickly ”. 10 years after the first flight of the Vega rocket, produced by Avio and a few months after the launch of its successor, Vega C, scheduled for May, in an EDITORIAL in the ENEA science magazine “Energia Ambiente e Innovazione” the CEO of Avio Spa, Giulio Ranzo, takes stock of strategies and further steps and some of the successes achieved, like the European record set with the launch of 53 satellites with a single Vega mission.

"Access to space is a fundamental capability that only a few states in the world have. Now their number is increasing and the number of subjects interested in launchers is rising, in an increasingly competitive market. Vega, of which Italy is a leading contributor, was created precisely to reduce costs and offer a wider audience the possibility to launch/SEND things and conduct experiments in Earth orbit", explained Ranzo. In this context, technological innovation plays a key role, "to improve the rockets' performance and versatility and reduce costs, with a view to increasing competitiveness but also to provide access to space to a wider range of customers, institutions, universities and research centers". Research also plays a fundamental role, for example in the field of new materials.

After the end of the Vega's twentieth mission, Avio is exploring the new carrier of its launch vehicle family, Vega C, more powerful and versatile, with greater load capacity at lower costs. "The innovation concerns the first phase, called P120C, which will also act as a booster for the European medium / heavy carrier Ariane 6, and the second, the Zefiro 40. In addition, Vega C will take full advantage of the new Small Spacecraft Mission payload adapter. Service (SSMS), which was successfully tested during the sixteenth flight of the Vega, putting 53 satellites into orbit with a single launch, a European record ”, pointed out Ranzo. "In addition - he specified - the new carrier will launch the Space Rider, an ESA reusable spacecraft with various applications, capable to remain in orbit for long periods, and then re-enter by making a parachute-braked landing. Avio is responsible for the vehicle's propulsion module ”.

Another important result is the Space Propulsion Test Facility (SPTF) built in Sardinia, a test bed for a sustainable new generation engine for the last phase of the Vega E, which will have an even greater load capacity at even lower costs. “Vega E will have three phases instead of four. The first two, with solid propellant, will be the same as the Vega C, namely the P120C and the Zefiro 40, thus reducing development costs. Space is the future and Italy and Avio will be at its center",  Ranzo concluded.

For the full article: L’importanza del settore spaziale e l’azione di AVIO

For the issue of the magazine EAI: Ricerca e Innovazione per la sfida spaziale

To receive the magazine in paper format write to: infoeai@enea.it

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