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Vega launch timeline
Posted: May 1, 2013

This graphic shows the sequence of events during Vega's second launch. Credit: Arianespace
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T-00:00:00 First Stage Ignition
The Vega rocket's first stage P80 solid rocket motor ignites and powers the 98-foot-tall booster off the launch pad 0.3 seconds later. The P80 first stage motor generates a maximum of 683,000 pounds of thrust.
T+00:00:31 Mach 1
The Vega rocket surpasses the speed of sound as it soars on a northerly trajectory from French Guiana.
T+00:00:53 Maximum Dynamic Pressure
Flying at an altitude of more than 40,000 feet, the rocket passes through the phase of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
T+00:01:56 First Stage Separation
Having consumed its 194,000 pounds of solid propellant, the 9.8-foot-diameter P80 first stage motor is jettisoned at an altitude of 33 miles.
T+00:01:57 Second Stage Ignition
The Vega rocket's Zefiro 23 second stage motor fires to begin its 103-second burn.
T+00:03:40 Second Stage Separation
The Zefiro 23 motor burns out and jettisons at an altitude of 93 miles.
T+00:03:55 Third Stage Ignition
Moving at a velocity of nearly 8,800 mph, the Vega rocket's Zefiro 9 motor ignites for the third stage burn.
T+00:04:00 Fairing Jettison
The Vega's 8.5-foot-diameter payload fairing is released as the rocket ascends into the upper atmosphere more than 104 miles high.
T+00:06:19 Third Stage Separation
The Zefiro 9 third stage shuts down and separates, having accelerated the rocket to nearly orbital velocity.
T+00:06:26 First AVUM Ignition
The Vega rocket's Attitude and Vernier Module, or fourth stage, ignites for the first time. The AVUM burns hydrazine fuel with an RD-869 engine provided by Yuzhnoye of Ukraine.
T+00:11:22 First AVUM Shutdown
The Vega's AVUM fourth stage is turned off after a 5-minute burn, beginning a 42-minute coast until the engine is ignited again. The first AVUM burn places the rocket and its payloads in a parking orbit.
T+00:53:05 Second AVUM Ignition
After coasting to an altitude of 500 miles, the AVUM fires a second time to circularize its orbit.
T+00:54:37 Second AVUM Shutdown
The AVUM engine shuts down after reaching a circular 509-mile-high orbit (820 kilometers) with an inclination of 98.7 degrees.
T+00:55:27 Proba-V Separation
The Proba-V satellite is deployed from the Vega rocket's AVUM upper stage.
T+01:04:13 Third AVUM Ignition
The AVUM fires a third time to modify its orbit for deployment of the VNREDSat 1 satellite.
T+01:04:35 Third AVUM Shutdown
The Vega rocket's AVUM liquid-fueled fourth stage shuts down and begins a 47-minute coast phase.
T+01:51:25 Vespa Jettison
The upper part of the launcher's Vespa dual-payload adapter is jettisoned to reveal the VNREDSat 1 satellite.
T+01:53:44 Fourth AVUM Ignition
The AVUM fourth stage engine fires for a 65-second burn.
T+01:54:49 Fourth AVUM Shutdown
The AVUM fourth stage engine shuts down after reaching a circular 413-mile-high orbit (665 kilometers) with an inclination of 98.1 degrees. Another AVUM firing is planned to deorbit the stage after separation of VNREDSat 1 and ESTCube 1. The AVUM stage is designed for up to five burns in a mission.
T+01:57:24 VNREDSat 1 Separation
Vietnam's VNREDSat 1 Earth observation satellite is released from the Vega rocket.
T+02:00:48 ESTCube 1 Separation
The 3-pound ESTCube 1 satellite, built by students at the National University of Tartu in Estonia, is deployed from the Vega launcher's fourth stage.

Data source: Arianespace