UAE's Falcon Eye 1 satellite was lost in space after the rocket launcher experienced a failure after lift-off, causing the mission to end prematurely, according to reports in UAE newspapers.
The UAE Space Agency was using the launch services of Arianespace and their rocket, Vega, to send off Falcon Eye 1 to orbit from the Guiana Space Centre French Guiana at 5.53am, UAE time.
However, six minutes into the launch, there were reports of loss of the telemetry link, which is a connection between the launcher and mission control. Shortly after, Arianespace announced that the mission was lost.
Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel tweeted: "A launcher anomaly occurred during Flight#VV15 shortly after ignition of the Zefiro 23 second stage, leading to premature end of the mission. Data analyses are in progress to clarify reasons for this failure. An independent inquiry commission will be set up in the coming hours."
A launcher anomaly occurred during Flight #VV15 shortly after ignition of the Zefiro 23 second stage, leading to premature end of the mission. Data analyses are in progress to clarify reasons for this failure. An independent inquiry commission will be set up in the coming hours.— Stéphane Israël (@arianespaceceo) July 11, 2019
Bad weather prompted the space centre and authorities to call off two previous attempts to launch on July 6 and July 8.
Clear skies and calm winds on Thursday allowed for the launch of Falcon Eye 1 on the Vega Launch vehicle Flight VV15, the second Vega launch this year at the Guiana Space Centre.
"Ladies and gentlemen, as you have seen after two minutes after lift-off… a major anomaly occurred resulting in the loss of the mission," Luce Fabreguettes, executive vice president, Missions, Operations and Purchasing, Arianespace, said during the launch.
"On behalf of Arianespace, I wish to express my deepest apologies to our customers for the loss of their payload and telling them how sorry I am.
"From the first flight data analysis, we will get in the coming hours more precise information. We will communicate to everybody at the soonest. Again, let me present my deepest apologies to my customers."
Ali Al Shehhi, Falcon Eye Programme director from the UAE, was present at the Mission Control Room during the launch, along with other senior officials.
Falcon Eye 1 was built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia. It featured a high-resolution Imager, HiRI, imaging system with a ground resolution of 70cm across a 20km swath.
It was built for the use of the UAE Armed Forces.