Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

Rocket carrying UAE satellite fails to launch into space

Arianespace, the launch service provider, loses telemetry link with rocket

FalconEye1 launches on board a Vega rocket from Guiana Space Centre on Thursday. Courtesy Arianespace
FalconEye1 launches on board a Vega rocket from Guiana Space Centre on Thursday. Courtesy Arianespace

A rocket carrying a UAE satellite has failed to make it to space.

Flight VV15, a Vega rocket by Arianespace, lifted off from Guiana Space Centre, in French Guiana on the eastern coast of South America, on Thursday at around 6am UAE time. Six minutes later, the control room lost the "telemetry link" with the rocket.

Luce Fabreguettes, executive vice president of missions, operations and purchasing of Arianespace, apologised to the UAE on the loss of reconnaissance satellite Falcon Eye 1.

"As you have seen about two minutes after lift-off ... a major anomaly occurred resulting in the loss of the mission," she said.

"On behalf of Arianespace, I wish to express my deepest apologies to our customers for the loss of their payload and tell them how sorry I am."

She said a clearer picture of what went wrong would be available in the coming hours as crews retrieve flight data.

Wam, the UAE state news agency, said plans to launch the Falcon Eye 2 satellite were under way, as part of the overall Falcon Eye satellite system.

The Falcon Eye 1 satellite was due to orbit the Earth for the next 10 years, providing high-definition images from around the world for military and civilian use.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia, in Toulouse, France, the satellite arrived at Guiana last Monday.

It was originally due to be launched on Saturday, July 6, and then Sunday, July 7, but was delayed each time due to high winds.

The images Falcon Eye 1 takes were due to be used for mapping, agricultural monitoring, urban planning, urban regulation, natural disaster prevention and management. They were also set to be used to survey changes in the environment, desertification and monitor the UAE's borders and coasts.

The launch was live-streamed on the Arianespace website and YouTube page.

Updated: July 12, 2019 09:43 AM

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