UAE scientists’ team with Falcon Eye 1 preparing for launch
UAE scientists’ team with Falcon Eye 1 preparing for launch. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: One of UAE’s ‘falcons’ is set to soar beyond the sky, reaching space to orbit the earth beginning on July 6.

The UAE’s fourth reconnaissance satellite, Falcon Eye 1, is set for its launch to space on Saturday at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

Falcon Eye 1 satellite will be launched into orbit at 5.53am UAE time (01:53:03 GMT), bringing the total number to 10 satellites in orbit. The UAE plans to have two more satellites in orbit by 2020.

1,500kg

approximate weight of Falcon Eye 1 satellite

Built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia, the Falcon Eye 1 features a High-Resolution Imager, HiRI, an imaging system with a ground resolution of 70cm across a 20km swathe.

The Pleiades-type satellite weighs less than 1,500kg and will be launched via a Vega rocket by Arianespace.

According to the Thales Group, Thales officially signed the contract with the UAE to develop the very-high-resolution payload for the Falcon Eye program in 2014, within the scope of a consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space.

70cm

ground resolution across 20km swathe by imaging systems

The Falcon Eye optical observation satellite will provide a new capability to the military and represent the most advanced optics to have state-of-the-art capabilities in Surveillance, Intelligence, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance.

Run by Abu Dhabi’s Space Reconnaissance Centre (SRC), Falcon Eye is expected to add enormous potential once in orbit at an altitude of 611km to provide the centre with hundreds of high-resolution images on a daily basis.

Falcon Eye 1 joins several other UAE satellites, including the KhalifaSat, the 100 per cent first Emirati-made satellite, to space on October 29 last year. It is the fastest in transferring high-quality images and orbits the earth almost 14-and-a-half cycles daily.

— with inputs from WAM