Mohammed VI-A: First Observation Satellite for Civilian Purposes Launched

By on November 9, 2017

Morocco has launched its first observation satellite designed mainly for civilian purposes, surveillance of the country’s borders and the monitoring of desertification in the region. The launch service provider Arianespace added that it would be also used for special planning, mapping activities, monitoring of agricultural activities, management and prevention of natural disasters and monitoring of environmental developments.

The satellite was named after Morocco’s king Mohammed VI and it was launched from the European-run spaceport Kourou, French Guiana, but it will be piloted from an operating center close to the capital, Rabat. The satellite was until recently known by the codename MN35-13 and it was disclosed only last week who the end user was. It was built by Airbus Defense & Space and Thales Alenia Space and a second launch is planned for 2018.

“Arianespace is delighted to confirm that the Mohammed VI-A satellite successfully separated in its targeted sun-synchronous orbit,” said Luce Fabreguettes, Executive Vice-President for missions, operations and purchasing at Arianespace. “This is the third successful launch for Vega this year, and its 11th success for clients and partners since the launch vehicle began its career at the Guiana Space Center.” The launcher has successfully placed 26 spacecraft into orbit for commercial customers, international governments, the European Space Agency, the European Commission.

With the launch of Mohammed VI-A, Morocco joins South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt, all of whom have launched their own space programs within the past decade.

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