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Altius mission, to which Romania contributes, will be launched with the new Vega-C rocket

on 14 January 2022

A contract signed with Arianespace secures the joint launch for two satellites that will further knowledge of our home planet.

Scheduled to lift off on a new class of rocket, ESA’s Vega-C, from Europe’s Spaceport in mid-2025, FLEX will yield new information about the health of the world’s plants and Altius will deliver profiles of ozone and other trace gases in the upper atmosphere to support services such as weather forecasting. Romania also contributes to the Altius mission.

Both satellite missions are set to bring significant benefits to both science and society.

FLEX is an Earth Explorer research mission. Earth Explorers, which are pivotal to ESA’s FutureEO programme, are built to show how pioneering space technology can return novel information about how our planet works as a system and to better understand our rapidly changing world.

Although essentially built for science, many of these missions also deliver information that has direct practical uses. Moreover, once the technology and applications have been proven, Earth Explorers, importantly, provide the sound heritage for future satellite missions designed to provide systematic data for services that benefit daily life.

FLEX will help address one of our biggest challenges: understanding the health of Earth’s vegetation, which is critical to improve food security.

Altius is a smaller class satellite, but it will fill a very important gap in the continuation of ‘limb’ measurements for atmospheric science. It is being developed within ESA’s Earth Watch programme and financed mainly by Belgium with contributions from Canada, Luxembourg and Romania.

This new mission is being built to deliver vertical profiles of ozone and other atmospheric gases.

The contract, now signed with Arianespace, ensures passage into space for these precious satellite missions from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Both will be taken into orbit on ESA’s new Vega-C rocket. Building on the current Vega class, the first Vega-C will first take to the skies in 2022.

More details here

Image credit: Thales Alenia Space