UAE satellite launch suffers ‘major anomaly’

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UAE satellite launch suffers ‘major anomaly’

Dubai: A “major anomaly” occurred two minutes after lift-off of the United Arab Emirates Falcon Eye 1 satellite during its launch on Thursday, authorities confirmed.

The UAE’s fourth reconnaissance satellite, the Falcon Eye 1, successfully blasted off to space at 5.53 a.m. on Thursday at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, reported Gulf News.

Bad weather prompted the space centre and authorities to call off two attempts to launch on July 6 and July 8.

Clear skies and calm winds on Thursday allowed for the launch of Falcon Eye 1 on the Vega Launch vehicle Flight VV15, the second Vega launch this year at the Guiana Space Centre.

However, at 6.14 minutes after the launch, the Mission Control Centre reported it lost telemetry link with the launcher, according to the Flight Director. The telemetry link is the automated communication link between the launcher and the mission control

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you have seen after two minutes after lift-off… A major anomaly occurred resulting in the loss of the mission,” Luce Fabreguettes, Executive Vice President, Missions, Operations and Purchasing, Arianespace, said during the launch.

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

The Falcon Eye 1 was supposed to have a dual purpose – to support the needs of UAE Armed Forces, and provide the commercial market with images, reports Gulf News.

The payload was expected to separate from the launch vehicle 57 minutes after the launch to inject into Sun-synchronous orbit at 611 km above the Earth.

The satellite features a very-high-resolution optical capability of 70 cm resolution across 20 km swathe. It also has a ground system for monitoring, receiving and processing the images.

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