Vega, Europe's newest space rocket, will make its maiden voyage on Monday, BBC News reported.
The Vega is a small launcher — 30 meters, or just under 100 feet tall — but it promises to do the job of twice most other rockets its size, Space.com reported. It will will launch on what is called a qualification flight from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana between 10:00 and 12:00 GMT on Monday, according to BBC.
The rocket was first conceived in the 1990s, and was developed to allow Europe direct access to space for smaller payload classes, which usually ride into orbit on converted Russian ICBMs, BBC reported. However, small European satellites can sometimes wait months to get a launch slot.
"New technologies — and in particular the miniaturization of technologies — are making for more and more small satellites," Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), told the BBC. "This is particularly true of scientific satellites such as Earth observation spacecraft. So, Vega has a fantastic perspective in front of it provided we succeed."
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The rocket will carry nine satellites into orbit, but the main goal of the mission is to ensure that Vega's systems all work as designed.
In October 2011, The launch of the first two satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation system was on postponed due to "technical reasons." Galileo is Europe's 5.4 billion-euro rival to the global positioning system in the United States.