After two days delay, Arianespace's Vega mission launched last night (9 October 01:36 UTC) the optical observation satellite THEOS-2, the weather satellite FORMOSAT-7R TRITON, and ten auxiliary passengers – including Estonian ESTCube-2.
The launch took place from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
After liftoff, the Vega launcher flew powered by the first three stages for a little over six minutes before the separation of the upper stage from the third stage.
The upper stage ignited twice before releasing simultaneously the two main satellites at an altitude of 601 km.
Following two other orbit manoeuvres, the ten CubeSats all successfully separated one hour, 43 minutes and 58 seconds after liftoff.
Finally, the upper stage used once again its rocket engine, now sending the stage towards the atmosphere where it was harmlessly destroyed.