A European Vega rocket with Ukrainian engine successfully puts Moroccan remote sensing satellite into orbit
European lightweight Vega class rocket with a Ukrainian engine successfully launched the Mohammed VI-B Moroccan Earth Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS) into a sun-synchronous earth orbit.
According to a report on the website of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU), the rocked launched on November 21 at 03:42 Kyiv time from the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana (South America). The launch became the 13th under the Vega program and the second in 2018. The next launch of this program scheduled for February 2019.
The mass of the Mohammed VI-B satellite, created by Thales Alenia Space with the participation of Airbus on the order of the Kingdom of Morocco, is 1,108 kg. 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.
The Vega was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency (ASI). It is intended for launching into a solar-synchronous orbit with a height of 1,200 km satellites weighing up to 1,200 kg or into a polar orbit with a height of 700 km satellites weighing 1,500 kg.
The propulsion engine for the 4th stage of the PH RD-868P was developed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and manufactured the Yuzhmash PO (both from Dnipro, Ukraine). According to the developer, the new liquid engine is based on the intercontinental ballistic missile carrier (ICBM) RS-20.
A successful test run of the Vega rocket was carried out in February 2012. Since May 2013, ESA has begun commercial operation of the new launch vehicle. Some 30 satellites have been launched into orbit for customers. .
In July 2017, Ukrainian participants in the Vega program cooperation extended the contract signed in 2012 with a European contractor - Italian Avio SpA - for the supply of production engines for the Vega rocket until 2020.
The Government of Ukraine and the ESA signed an agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space in 2008.
The structure of the ESA includes 17 European countries.
Ukraine is currently preparing the creation of an information hub for the implementation of the cooperation agreement with the EU signed in May 2018 in the European space monitoring program Copernicus.