European Space Agency launches new Vega-C rocket

STORY: The new version of the Vega rocket is capable of hauling up to 2.4 tonnes of payload to a polar orbit about 435 miles above Earth, making it a significantly more powerful rocket than the original Vega which could carry 1.5 tonnes, ESA said in a statement.

Its main payload for this flight is LARES-2, a scientific mission of the Italian space agency ASI meant to measure the effects of gravity in orbit.

Director General at ESA, Josef Aschbacher, told Reuters that VEGA-C's main mission is to launch earth observation satellites that would monitor and measure different aspects of the planet, including forestry, disaster management and climate change.

Aschbacher also said that the measurements sent to the ground from the satellites in orbit could help to verify a number of parameters and components of time and spaces, including Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and his other scientific predictions.

The ESA is hoping to expand its launcher programme and to make Europe more competitive in the satellite market.

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