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The New Arab

UAE spy satellite crashes to earth during failed launch

The UAE space agency has become an important pillar of Emirati government policy [Getty[

Date of publication: 11 July, 2019

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The UAE's has made its space mission a major pillar of the government's mission.
The UAE's space programme suffered a serious set-back on Wednesday when the rocket launching an Emirati military satellite crashed into the Atlantic.

The European-made Vega rocket suffered a "major anomaly" during its launch which saw the FalconEye1 spy satellite hurtling earthwards.

"About two minutes after liftoff... a major anomaly occurred, resulting in the loss of the mission," said Luce Fabreguettes of Arianespace, according to Space.com.

She said she wanted to "express our deepest apologies for the loss of our payload" and announced that an investigation into the incident would begin.

Space watchers pointed out that the booster didn't ignite during the second stage of the launch sending the Vega satellite and its payload off-course.

Lift-off took place at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana at 10:53pm local time, but the rocket deviated from its planned route and ended in the Atlantic.

FalconEye1 was one of two planned earth observation satellites the UAE hoped would monitor crops and help with natural disaster management, according to Space.com

The satellite is operated by Abu Dhabi's Space Reconnaissance Centre to "provide for the needs" of the UAE military and for commercial use, according to Gulf News.

Two previous attempts to launch the satellite this month were called off due to bad weather.

It is not known what impact this might have on the Gulf state's plans to launch a man into space in September.

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