Arianespace has successfully deployed the Kingdom of Morocco’s Mohammed VI – B Earth observation satellite into a low Earth orbit. The launch was Arianespace’s ninth of 2018 and the second aboard a Vega.
The Vega launch vehicle lifted off from the Guiana Space Center at 01:42 UTC this morning (22:42 November 20 local time) with the 1,110-kilogram (2447-pound) optical reconnaissance satellite aboard. Following the launch, Arianespace officials confirmed on the provider’s Twitter page that the Mohammed VI – B satellite had been deployed successfully.
The Mohammed VI – B was developed on the Airbus Defence and Space Astrosat-1000 satellite bus platform. The satellite’s payload, including the optical instrument and the image transmission subsystem, was developed by Thales Alenia Space and integrated by Airbus. Both Thales Alenia Space and Airbus also supplied Morroco with ground facilities including satellite control and image processing systems.
The satellite joins Morocco’s Mohammed VI – A satellite which was deployed aboard another Arianespace Vega launch vehicle in late 2017. According to an Arianespace press release, the satellites will be used for “mapping and land surveying, regional development, agricultural monitoring, the prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification, and border and coastal surveillance.”
The Mohammed VI – B satellite is expected to remain operational for approximately five years.
Arianespace’s next launch is currently scheduled for December 4. The launch will deploy the GSAT-11 satellite for the Indian Space Research Organisation and the GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. The pair of satellites will be launched aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle from the Guiana Space Center.