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Arianespace launches Mohammed VI-B satellite on Vega
The StriX-α satellite will be orbited on a Vega launcher. © Arianespace

Arianespace launches Mohammed VI-B satellite on Vega

Arianespace successfully launched Morocco's Mohammed VI-B satellite on 20th November in the 13th consecutive success for the Vega light launcher.

Arianespace successfully launched the Mohammed VI-B satellite for the Kingdom of Morocco on 20th November from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The launch marked the 13th consecutive success for the Vega light launcher since it entered service in 2012 and its 10th mission carrying an Earth observation payload.

Thales Alenia Space is system prime contractor for the Mohammed VI-B satellite, supplying the payload, including the optical instrument, the image transmission subsystem, and the ground segment for image processing and production. Airbus, as satellite prime contractor, was in charge of payload integration, as well as supplying the platform and the ground segment for mission planning and satellite control.

The satellite will be used primarily for mapping and land surveying activities, regional development, agricultural monitoring, the prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification, as well as border and coastal surveillance.

It is the second satellite for Morocco’s Mohammed VI-A & B programme, following Arianespace’s Vega launch of the Mohammed VI-A satellite in November 2017. Designed to be complementary, the two Earth observation spacecraft will work together to enable faster coverage of zones of interest.

Flight VV13 was Arianespace’s second Vega mission in 2018, and the ninth Arianespace launch of the year. The company’s next liftoff is set for 4th December using an Ariane 5 to orbit two geostationary orbit satellites: the GSAT-11 communications spacecraft for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO); and the GEO-KOMPSAT-2A meteorological observation and space weather monitoring platform for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

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