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LARES (Laser Relativity Satellite), an Italian satellite, was launched from Kourou on 13 February 2012 at 10:00 UT. The satellite was launched by the new European launch vehicle Vega. Vega carried nine small research satellites for its qualification flight. LARES was the main payload and weighed 400 kg. LARES is covered with 92 laser retroreflectors that will be used to track the satellite via laser from stations on Earth. The objective of LARES is to refine the real effect of frame-dragging with an accuracy approaching 1 percent, ultimately, increasing understanding of physical properties of distant bodies of even greater mass such as black holes and neutron stars. LARES was designed at Sapienza University of Rome.

Alternate Names

  • 38077
  • Laser Relativity Satellite

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2012-02-13
Launch Vehicle: Vega
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana
Mass: 400 kg

Funding Agency

  • Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italy)


  • Astronomy
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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