• Europe's new Vega rocket has launched on its first flight. The 30m-tall vehicle has been designed to put small scientific and government satellites in orbit.
  • Vega is carrying a total of nine spacecraft, including a fundamental physics experiment to test aspects of Einstein's theory of general relativity.
  • Member states of the European Space Agency, together with their industries, are investing more than a billion euros in the introduction of Vega.
  • The vehicle is intended to guarantee access to space for an increasingly important class of satellite weighing less than 2.5 tonnes.