On 19 February, 2014 European launch provider Arianespace and Italian company CGS S.p.A. announced the launch contract for the OPTSAT 3000 satellite. At the same time, Arianespace also announced that it had signed a launch contract with the Israeli Space Agency for the VENµS environmental monitoring satellite and that this would fly with OPTSAT 3000 on the same Vega launch. The launch will take place in early 2016 from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana.
The OPTSAT 3000 Earth observation satellite will be built by IAI (Israel Aircraft Industry) for the Italian Ministry of Defense, on behalf of the prime contractor team, CGS S.p.A. and Telespazio (Finmeccanica/Thales). Weighing about 400 kg at launch, it will be placed into a Sun-synchronous orbit.
The VENµS (Vegetation and Environment Monitoring on a New Micro Satellite) spacecraft is an Earth observation mission developed jointly by the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) and the French space agency CNES, within the scope of Europe’s Copernicus Earth monitoring program.
The VENµS satellite will be built by IAI. Weighing about 300 kg at launch it will be sent into Sun-synchronous orbit.