Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ESA Vega Motor Checks Out A-Ok

The new Vega launch system being perfected by the European Space Agency aims to capture a piece of the growing small-satellite delivery market, expected to grow ten-fold in as many years.
A recent successful test firing of the Vega's Zefiro 9 third-stage solid rocket motor is further proof of the concept.

While it's true the small satellite market will most likely grow exponentially in the coming years, it remains to be seen who will service all these launches.
Elon Musk believes his Falcon rockets are the best answer, and if he ever gets one up there, he might be proved true.

The recent Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative (SSETI) mission SSETI Express proved the Internet can be used to help a band of amateurs act as an efficient "ground control" base for space missions. This may lead them to an orbiting probe and eventually a student-led Moon mission.

So, the problem of how to keep small space probes functioning once they are up there has been solved. But who will get them up there in the first place--that's still an open-ended question.

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