UAE to launch Falcon Eye satellite in July

Data collected by the satellite will be used in urban planning, monitoring borders and coasts, and for environmental research

An illustration of the Falcon Eye 1 satellite in orbit. Wam
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The UAE will launch its fourth surveillance satellite into space next month.

The Falcon Eye 1 satellite will launch into orbit on Saturday, July 6, from the French Guiana Space Centre, in South America, at 5.53am UAE time.

Falcon Eye 1 will be the fourth reconnaissance satellite launched by the UAE, bringing the total number to 10 satellites in orbit. The UAE aims to have 12 satellites in orbit by 2020.

The UAE satellite was built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia. It is equipped with a High-Resolution Imager, HiRI, imaging system. 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.

The satellite, weighing around 1,500kg, will be launched via an Istalian Space Agency-developed Vega rocket by Arianespace - a European company that has launched more than 550 satellites into space.

The UAE successfully launched KhalifaSat, the first completely Emirati-built satellite, into space in October last year.

The satellite is currently in Low Earth Orbit, where it will remain for five years taking high quality imagery of the ground below to relay to Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.

The launch was hailed by the UAE's leaders as an "unprecedented Emirati achievement".

MYSAT-1, a satellite built and developed by UAE students from Khalifa University, was launched into space a few weeks later.

It has a camera that will take pictures of Earth, and will also be used to test a lithium-ion battery created at the university.

Meanwhile, the UAE is bracing for its next space-related milestone as the first Emirati astronaut prepares to go to the International Space Station in September.

Hazza Al Mansouri was selected from thousands of applicants to represent the UAE on the eight-day mission.