The Soyuz rocket lifts off with the UAE's satellite Falcon Eye at the Sinnamary launchpad, near Kourou, in French Guiana on Wednesday. AFP.
To mark its 49th National Day, the UAE launched the surveillance satellite Falcon Eye into space from the French Guiana Space Centre, in South America, at 5:33am UAE time (01:33 GMT).
The Soyuz ST-A rocket lifted off from the launch complex in French Guiana and the earth-observation satellite separated 58 minutes after burns by the Fregat upper stage.
Equipped with a High-Resolution Imager, the satellite is the fourth reconnaissance satellite launched by the UAE, bringing the total number to 12 satellites into orbit.
The data it transmits back to the ground control station will be used for mapping, agricultural monitoring, urban planning and monitoring changes in the environment, helping with response planning for natural disasters, and monitoring the UAE's borders and coasts.
Fitted with an earth-observation payload, with very-high-resolution optical capabilities, the satellite will remain in Low Earth Orbit for 10 years taking high quality imagery of the ground below to relay to ground control station.
The project began five years ago and implemented by many experienced engineers and technicians from the UAE Armed Forces specialising in mega project management and military and space systems who were joined by foreign experts.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of congratulations to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal on the occasion of his country's National Day,
Falcon Eye 1 will be the fourth reconnaissance satellite launched by the UAE, bringing the total number to ten satellites in orbit. The UAE plans to have 12 satellites in orbit by 2020.
The launch is part of a high-technology project undertaken to develop solutions to environmental challenges and address climate change. The satellite will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The UAE will launch the “MeznSat” satellite, on Monday, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia on a Soyuz-2 rocket, which is the first educational cubic satellite manufactured in cooperation between Khalifa University and the American University in Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), under the supervision of the UAE Space Agency.
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