An Italian-made rocket faces a big test on Thursday night

People in hardhats stand around a rocket.

Enlarge / This image shows
the Zefiro-23 second stage being installed onto the P80 first stage
at the Vega Launch Site in February, in Kourou, French Guiana.
(credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

Nearly a year has gone by since an Italian-made Vega rocket
launched a 1.2-ton satellite from French Guiana only to
subsequently fail at reaching orbit. Now, the Vega rocket is set
for its return-to-flight mission on Thursday night at 9:51pm ET
(01:51 UTC Friday). It will be broadcast
on ESA Web TV
.

This is an important mission for more than just getting the Vega
rocket back on track. It also is the first launch of a rocket from
the European spaceport in French Guiana since February, after which
the facility closed down due to COVID-19 precautions.

Additionally, with this mission, the small Vega booster seeks to
prove its bona fides as a booster capable of flying rideshare
missions. On this launch, the rocket will debut the “Small
Spacecraft Mission Service” dispenser to deploy payloads of varying
sizes into multiple orbits.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
An Italian-made rocket faces a big test on Thursday
night