Saturday 6 July, Vega will lift off from Europe’s spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) carrying the FalconEye1 Earth-observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates. The satellite was developed by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor and Thales Alenia Space as co-prime. The launch will be the sixth this year from the CSG and the second for Vega, which will be making its 15th flight since entering service at the launch base in 2012.
FalconEye1 is the first of two identical satellites that will make up the FalconEye system to be launched for the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces (UAEAF). FalconEye1 and FalconEye2 will operate from Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) at an altitude of 611 kilometres.
With a launch mass of approximately 1,197 kilograms, each satellite features an Earth-observation payload with very-high-resolution optical capabilities, complemented by a ground system for monitoring, receiving and processing imagery. FalconEye1 will have the dual mission of supporting the needs of UAEAF and supplying imagery for the commercial market.