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Vega November 20, 2018

Another Vega success for Earth observation: Arianespace orbits the MOHAMMED VI – B satellite

Arianespace lofted the MOHAMMED VI - B satellite for the Kingdom of Morocco on tonight’s mission from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, and in doing so, marked the 13th consecutive success of its lightweight Vega launcher since entering service in 2012.

Designated Flight VV13 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, it was the 10th mission with an Earth observation spacecraft performed by Vega to date. Overall, the MOHAMMED VI – B satellite was the 67th Earth observation platform orbited by Arianespace with its family of launch vehicles for commercial and institutional customers.

Thales Alenia Space is system prime contractor for the MOHAMMED VI – B satellite, supplying the payload – including the optical instrument, the image transmission subsystem, and the ground segment for image processing and production. Airbus, as satellite prime contractor, was in charge of its integration, as well as supplying the platform and the ground segment for mission planning and satellite control.

Another launch for the Kingdom of Morocco

Tonight’s mission – which lasted 55 minutes from liftoff to payload separation – placed its passenger into a Sun-synchronous orbit. Once operational, the MOHAMMED VI – B satellite will be used primarily for mapping and land surveying activities, regional development, agricultural monitoring, the prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification, as well as border and coastal surveillance.

It is the second satellite for the Kingdom of Morocco’s MOHAMMED VI ‐ A & B program, following Arianespace’s Vega launch of the MOHAMMED VI ‐ A satellite in November 2017. Designed to be complementary, the two Earth observation spacecraft will work together to enable faster coverage of zones of interests.

A commitment to Earth observation

In post-launch comments from the Spaceport, Luce Fabreguettes – the Arianespace Executive Vice President for Missions, Operations & Purchasing – thanked the Kingdom of Morocco for its continued confidence in the company’s launch services, and once again underscored Arianespace’s commitment to Earth observation missions.

“With its full range of launchers, Arianespace is particularly committed to this segment, which echoes our mission: to put space at the service of a better life on Earth,” she said. “European launches are an answer adapted to the needs of this dynamic market. This is reflected in our order book, almost 30 percent of which is composed of Earth observation satellites.”

Flight VV13 was Arianespace’s second Vega mission in 2018, and the ninth this year using a member of the company’s three-member launcher family – which also includes the heavyweight Ariane 5 and medium-lift Soyuz.

Speaking from the Spaceport after Flight VV13’s conclusion, Arianespace’s Luce Fabreguettes announced the company’s next liftoff is set for December 4 using an Ariane 5 to orbit two geostationary orbit satellites: the GSAT-11 communications spacecraft for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO); and the GEO-KOMPSAT-2A meteorological observation and space weather monitoring platform for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

  • Read the press release on Arianespace’s launch of the MOHAMMED VI – B satellite.
  • A larger version of liftoff photo (above) is available in the Gallery.
  • More details on the Arianespace mission success are available in the Flight VV13 launch kit:
Vega Flight VV13
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Vega November 20, 2018

Liftoff of Arianespace’s Vega mission with the MOHAMMED VI ‐ B satellite

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