Avio Vega-E M10 roars to life in Sardinia

Avio successfully tests Vega-E M10 upper stage engine.

Italian rocket builder Avio announced late last week that it had successfully tested its M10 methalox upper stage engine at its test facility in Sardinia. The engine will power the third stage of the company’s Vega-E rocket, which it expects to debut in 2026. The M10 at a glance:

  • Vehicle: Vega-E
  • Thrust: 98 kN
  • Specific impulse: 362 seconds

Although neither ESA, Avio, nor Arianespace, which operates the Vega family of vehicles, are currently advertising what the potential performance of Vega-E will be, Avio told the UN in July ‘20 that the rocket would be capable of carrying 2,800 kg to a 700 km orbit, a more than 20% increase from Vega-C.

  • “With M10, Vega-E will improve performance, operational flexibility, sustainability, and cost efficiency,” said ESA head of space transportation flight programmes Stefano Bianchi.
  • The M10 engine will also eliminate Vega’s reliance on the Ukrainian-built RD-843 engine that powers the Vega AVUM and Vega-C AVUM+ stages, the supply of which has been uncertain due to the war in Ukraine.

Step by step…: While work continues on Vega-E, ESA is preparing for the maiden Vega-C flight. Last week, the agency mated the Zefiro 40 second stage with the 1-2 interstage atop the P120C first stage booster.

Related Stories

Skyrora Partners with Spirit AeroSystems on Rocket Manufacturing

Skyrora, a UK-based launch startup, is aiming to keep its supply chain close to home as it gears up for its first orbital launch tests.


Payload Pioneers 2023: Stephanie Gavell

If you told Stephanie Gavell the problem wasn’t rocket science, she didn’t want to be a part of it. 


Xage Pulls $17M USSF Contract for Cybersecurity

The Space Force is making strides toward protecting its critical assets in space with the award of a $17M contract to develop a zero-trust system that can keep space assets safe and sound. Xage Security Gov, the federal-focused arm of a startup building a zero-trust cybersecurity platform, announced this morning that it’s clinched the contract […]


A Q+A with Sita Sonty, Space Tango CEO

Sita Sonty has only been CEO of Space Tango for a couple weeks, but she already has big plans for the company, including opening a new fundraising round and growing the startup’s global client base.  “Details are in the works. It is a private, friends and family round,” she told Payload. “A big part of […]