In parallel, the Italian-built LARES laser relativity satellite payload - and six cubesats, are being prepared.
Vega is compatible with payload masses ranging from 300 kg to 2500 kg, depending on the type and altitude of the orbit required by the customers. The benchmark is for 1500 kg into a 700 km-altitude polar orbit.
Vega will lift off from the Spaceport's ZLV launch site, which originally was used for the Ariane 1 and Ariane 3 vehicles.
The medium-lift Soyuz and light category Vega will
complement ESA's heavylift Ariane 5s to provide a range of
launch options at Kourou.
A longer-term project is also underway, to develop a a high-thrust cryogenic engine that could form the basis of ESA's next-generation launcher. It will not fly until about 2025, but is intended to provide a medium-lift capability in a modular design, with a re-ignitable upper stage and options for strap-on solid propellant boosters offering extra thrust.