Shipment company

Pre-shipment review held on the LARES2 platform for the first launch of Vega C – Parabolic Arc

LARES2 satellite undergoing pre-shipment inspection. (Credit: ASI)

The satellite, installed on the LARES System platform, is preparing to leave Italy to reach the European base in French Guiana where, aboard the inaugural flight of the ESA Vega C launcher, it will be put into orbit.

MILAN, Italy (Italian Space Agency PR) — On March 23-24, 2022, the pre-shipment review was held at OHB Italia headquarters in Milan, during which the Italian Space Agency verified the status of the LARES2 system and authorized its shipment to the launch site, the European Spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

The LARES2 system, developed by OHB Italia, under the direction and coordination of ASI, will be the first passenger of the new European VEGA C launcher built by Avio, during its maiden flight scheduled for May 2022.

The LARES system houses various satellites and equipment, including complex retention and release mechanisms that keep the various loads held during the launch phases locked and released once in orbit.

At the center of the system is the ASI satellite LARES2 (THEbe Dlativity Satellite 2) conceived and designed by the scientific team of the Fermi Center and La Sapienza University of Rome and built by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). It is a spherical-shaped passive satellite made of high-density nickel alloy (424 mm in diameter and 395 kg in mass), on which 303 CCR retroreflectors have been installed, making it a perfect reflective target for the ILRS (International Laser Ranging Service).

Thanks to laser measurements, its orbit will be traced with great precision and will make it possible to experimentally verify certain relativistic aspects theoretically predicted by Einstein, but also to carry out measurements within the framework of space geodesy.

The secondary payloads are 6 small Cubesat-sized satellites, selected by ESA and produced by European research institutions, including 3 Italian ones: Astrobio and Greencube, produced respectively by the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) and Sapienza University of Rome for ASI, and Alpha for ArcaDynamics.

In addition, during the launch, a series of sensors and a chamber, hosted on the LARES system, will be used to monitor the conditions and constraints to which this first Vega C passenger is subjected, data which will become a reference for the following passengers of the ESA Launcher. , but made in Italy by Avio.

The LARES2 system follows on from the in-orbit LARES, also developed for ASI by OHB Italia, launched exactly 10 years ago and still operational today. During this period, he provided a large amount of scientific data and allowed us to obtain results of great interest. The data that will be acquired thanks to LARES2 and which will join those of its predecessors, will allow scientific investigations with greater and unprecedented precision.

OHB Italia SpA is a company of the European space group OHB SE (Orbitale Hoch Technologie Bremen) and is currently engaged in important missions for ASI and ESA which also represent the main customers, as well as research institutes, university centers and all major aerospace companies. players, with particular attention to the export market.