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Arianespace delays Soyuz launch carrying UAE surveillance satellite Falcon Eye 2

Falcon Eye 2 is a high-performance optical observation satellite for commercial and military users in the UAE. 

Arianespace, a French satellite launch services provider, has announced that the Soyuz launch carrying the UAE’s Falcon Eye 2 surveillance satellite has been postponed.

In a statement, Arianespace said: “Due to additional checks to be performed on the Fregat upper stage of the Soyuz flight VS24, the launch initially scheduled for March 5, 2020, from the French Guiana Space Center is postponed.”

“The launch vehicle and its satellite payload have been placed in stand-by mode and maintained in fully safe conditions,” the company added.

An official familiar with launch operations at the Guiana Space Center said the Fregat upper stage, which is designed to place the Soyuz rocket’s payload into the proper orbit, will be replaced with another upper stage.

It comes after an identical spacecraft named Falcon Eye 1 was destroyed during a launch failure on an Italian-built Vega rocket last July.