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Arianespace Soyuz rocket launches UAE’s FalconEye satellite

Weighing 1,190 kg, FalconEye will offer earth observation capability to the UAE government and economy.

The earth observation satellite FalconEye was successfully launched last night from the European Spaceport (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana by an Arianespace Soyuz rocket.

Owned and operated by the United Arab Emirates, FalconEye was developed by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space as co-prime contractors.

The FalconEye system will support the needs of the UAE’s Armed Forces. The satellite weighed 1,190 kg at launch and will be raised to an helio-synchronous orbit of 611 km.

Airbus Defence and Space was in charge of the satellite design, integration and test, and supplied the platform. Thales Alenia Space designed and supplied the optical instrument and the image processing chain.

Commenting on the launch, Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, said: “The launch of the FalconEye satellite is a major event for the United Arab Emirates and we are proud, together with Airbus to celebrate this success. A programme such as FalconEye is very ambitious and aims to deliver exceptional performance. Thales Alenia Space rose to the challenge of this program with determination, reflecting the culmination and consolidation of more than 30 years of experience in the construction of observation satellites with very-high-resolution optical instruments.”