UAE plan launch of Falcon Eye 2 despite latest satellite setback

Falcon Eye 1 disappeared nine minutes after take-off
UAE plan launch of Falcon Eye 2 despite latest satellite setback
Falcon Eye 1 was designed to provide global coverage for the next 10 years for military and civilian use.
By Gavin Gibbon
Thu 11 Jul 2019 11:19 AM

The UAE is preparing plans to launch of the Falcon Eye 2 satellite.

A statement on Emirates News Agency (WAM) said preparations are underway for the launch, despite the failure of the Falcon Eye 1 mission this morning.

The European Vega rocket, which was carrying the satellite, took off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana shortly before 6am UAE time.

Flight VV15 was due to last 57 minutes from lift-off to separation. But Arianespace of Evry, France, which markets the Vega rocket, announced the rocket deviated from its orbit two minutes after blast-off, with the satellite subsequently lost in space.

A statement said: “Approximately two minutes after the Vega launcher’s lift-off from the Spaceport in French Guiana, a launcher anomaly occurred shortly after ignition of the Zefiro 23 second stage – leading to the premature end of the mission.

“Data analyses are in progress to clarify the reasons for this failure.”

It is the first time a Vega rocket has failed. The company said an independent inquiry commission will be set up to look into the events.

The UAE satellite was due to launch on Saturday and again on Monday but both attempts were abandoned due to bad weather.

The satellite was built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia. Falcon Eye 1, weighed less than 1,500kg and featured a high-resolution imager with a ground resolution of 70cm across a 20km swath.

Falcon Eye 1 was designed to provide global coverage for the next 10 years for military and civilian use.

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