A United Arab Emirates’ military spy satellite, carried by a 98-foot European Vega rocket, failed after a “major anomaly” occurred during the rocket launch from France’s overseas department of French Guiana in South America late on Wednesday.
The mission, codenamed VV15 and operated by the French provider Arianespace, failed minutes after the rocket took off, spiralling off its course and falling into the Atlantic Ocean, Space Flight Now reported.
Busy day for space Twitter: Hayabusa2 successfully touches down on Ryugu for the second time, Arianespace loses UAE spy satellite after Vega failure with the second stage appearing not to have ignited, and NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier has been reassigned. pic.twitter.com/IFc6Wo44t5— Rocket Rundown (@RocketRundown) 11 июля 2019 г.
Luce Fabreguettes, the French operating company’s spokesperson, apologised over the incident, which saw the crash and destruction of the Airbus-developed Falcon Eye 1, and the loss of its customer’s “payload” that the satellite was carrying.
The failed launch was the third attempt to proceed with the Vega mission, with two previous ones cancelled earlier this month due to inappropriate weather conditions.
Arianespace has again postponed the launch of a Vega rocket and the UAE’s Falcon Eye 1 spy satellite from French Guiana due to unfavorable high-altitude winds. Officials will set a new target launch date when winds improve. https://t.co/yB8PgPbCXC pic.twitter.com/CeKTnnFi9c— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) 7 июля 2019 г.
The Falcon Eye satellites are formally overseen and operated by Abu Dhabi’s Space Reconnaissance Centre (SRC) and are expected to “add enormous potential once in orbit at an altitude of 611km to provide the centre with hundreds of high-resolution images on a daily basis".
At the Centre Spatial Guyanais, the Vega VV15 rocket is counting down for launch. It will put into orbit FalconEye-1, a French-built spy satellite for the United Arab Emirates armed forces.— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) 11 июля 2019 г.
The satellites are fitted with top-notch Thales optics, which is capable of making close-up shots and having an Earth resolution of down to 70 centimetres.
The UAE earlier initiated the creation of the so-called Arab Space Cooperation Group, which comprises UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, and Kuwait, against the backdrop of rising tensions in the area.