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Vega June 28, 2019

Flight VV15: With Vega, Arianespace at the service of an Earth Observation Program for the benefit of the United Arab Emirates

For its sixth launch of the year, and the 15th Vega mission since this launcher began its career at the Guiana Space Center in 2012, Arianespace will orbit the FalconEye1 satellite.

This Earth observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates was developed by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor and Thales Alenia Space as co-prime.

Flight VV15 marks the 12th Earth observation mission for Vega, a versatile light launcher.

Flight VV15 will be performed from the Vega Launch Complex (ZLV) in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Thursday, July 4, 2019 in Kourou to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

The FalconEye satellite is a high performance optical Earth-observation satellite system for the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAEAF) manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor and Thales Alenia Space as co-prime.

The overall system is based on two identical satellites, FalconEye1 and FalconEye2, in Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). Each satellite features an Earth observation payload, with very-high-resolution optical capabilities. It is equipped with a ground system for monitoring, receiving and processing the images.

The FalconEye1 satellite, to be orbited by Flight VV15, will be the first space component of the system, and will have a dual use purpose: support the needs of UAE Armed Forces, and provide the commercial market with images.

It will weigh approximately 1,197 kg. at launch and will be raised to a heliosynchronous orbit at 611 kilometers.

As satellite prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space was in charge of the satellite design, integration and tests, and supplied the platform.

Thales Alenia Space, as co-prime, designed and supplied the Optical Instrument and the image chain. 

For further information, download the Flight VV15 Launch Kit by clicking here:

To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary in French and English from the launch site), go to or to on July 5, 2019, beginning 15 minutes before lift-off.

About Arianespace 

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 600 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.

Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

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