April 29, 2021 – On Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 10:50 pm local time (01:50 UTC on Thursday, April 29), a Vega launch vehicle operated by Arianespace lifted off successfully from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). This mission marked Vega’s return to flight, and was also the second successful launch by Arianespace’s teams in less than 72 hours. The mission’s primary purpose was orbiting Pleiades Neo 3, the first of four satellites in an advanced Earth observation constellation. Pleiades Neo 3 was wholly funded and manufactured by its operator, Airbus. Arianespace’s 18th Vega mission also deployed several small satellites using its innovative rideshare service SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service). These auxiliary payloads included an observation microsatellite for the Norwegian space agency, Norsat-3, and four cubesats, for the operators Eutelsat, NanoAvionics/Aurora Insight and Spire. The SSMS rideshare service, developed with the support of the European space industry, was first deployed by Arianespace in September 2020. Funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), Arianespace’s SSMS service will soon be joined by the Multiple Launch Service (MLS), a similar offering that uses the Ariane 6 launch vehicle. With these two services, Arianespace can offer a wide range of affordable launch opportunities for small satellites and constellations.