UAE launches satellite Falcon Eye into space

DUBAI, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched Wednesday its fourth reconnaissance satellite, named Falcon Eye 2, aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket that lifted off from Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

According to WAM news agency, Falcon Eye 2 is equipped with a High-Resolution Imager (HiRI) system with a ground resolution of 70 cm across a 20 km swath. The satellite will remain in low-Earth orbit for 10 years, taking high quality imagery of the ground below to relay to the ground control station.

Falcon Eye 2 is the fourth reconnaissance satellite launched by the UAE, bringing its total number of satellites into orbit to 12. The satellite weighs approximately 1,190 kg and will be placed in a Sun-synchronous orbit at 611km from the Earth.

Manufactured for the UAE Armed Forces by the consortium of Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, Falcon Eye 2 will transmit data to the ground control station that 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 land and coastal borders.

Falcon Eye 2 is the second of the Falcon Eye satellite system. The previous one, Falcon Eye 1, was launched in July last year but it got lost in space after the European Vega rocket that carried it deviated from its orbit two minutes after liftoff.

The launch of Falcon Eye 2 was also delayed a few times due to bad weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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