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Space
UAE launches to orbit its first spy satellite
UAE launches to orbit its first spy satellite
© © Emirates satellite Falcon Eye 2

| Pierre-François Mouriaux

UAE launches to orbit its first spy satellite

Arianespace has successfully launched Emirates observation satellite FalconEye, using a Soyuz launcher launched from Guiana Space Center

Morale-boosting success

FalconEye 2 launch was waited, after many failures since about a year : Lost of reconnaissance satellite Falcon Eye, using european launcher Vega ; lockdown in Guyana due to Covid crisis ; damages on Fregat upper stage ; failure of VV17 Vega last month ; weather ; and problems for data reception. Therefore, Arianespace VS24 flight was waited.

 

Twin brother

The launch was made on Tuesday, December 1, at 10.33 PM (local time)  (1h33 UTC) ; a launcher Soyouz STA/Fregat M was used for it. Satellite was deployed 58 minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff to a helio-synchronous orbit of 611 km. Satellite Falcon Eye 2 weighs approximately 1,2 tons, and is the Twin brother of the satellite lost in July 2019

Both satellites were built by Airbus Defence and Space ; Thales Alenia Space supplied optical payloads. They operates for United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

 

Two other Soyouz missions

VS24 mission was the third were Arianespace used Soyouz satellite ; and the first were Guyana Space Center was used.

Previous missions were conducted in February and March from Baïkonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, for the launch of UK OneWeb internet system satellites

Two other Soyouz missions are planned, until the end of this year : ST29, for the deployment of another OneWeb satellite, from Vostochny cosmodrome (Siberia, Russia) ; and VS25 for the launch of the second French military satellite CSO (Optical Space Component) from Guyana.

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