UAE Falcon Eye 1 Satellite Launch Suffers Major Setback

A major deviation occurred two minutes after lift-off of the UAE’s Falcon Eye 1 satellite during its firing to space on Thursday morning.

The Falcon Eye 1, the UAE’s fourth reconnaissance satellite, successfully fired off to space at exactly 5.53am UAE time on Thursday at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

Previously, bad weather forced the space centre and authorities to abandon two attempts to launch the satellite on July 6 and July 8. However, clear skies and calm winds permitted for the blasting off  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 firing off, the Mission Control Centre reported that it lost telemetry link with the launcher. The telemetry link is the automatic communication link between the launcher and the mission control.

During the launch, Ali Al Shehhi, Falcon Eye Programme Director from the UAE, was present at the Mission Control Room along with other senior officials.

The Falcon Eye 1 was aimed to have a dual purpose. Firstly, to back the requirements of UAE Armed Forces and secondly offer the commercial market with images.

The reason behind the mission’s failure was not immediately known. Arianespace has yet to recover flight data analysis to adjudge what went wrong.

In a statement released by Arianespace at 9am, three hours after launch, it stated that just two minutes after the Vega launcher’s lift-off, shortly after ignition of the second stage (Zefiro 23), a launcher deviation occurred – forcing to the premature end of the mission.

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