Morocco has successfully launched an earth observation satellite, the European consortium Arianespace announced on 8 November 2017. Dubbed “Mohammed VI-A”, the satellite was launched by Arianespace’s Vega rocket from French Guyana Space Centre on Tuesday at 10.42 p.m. local time in Kourou (1.42 a.m. GMT Wednesday), according to a statement by the consortium. The Mohammed VI-A satellite is an Earth observation satellite built in the Kingdom of Morocco by Thales Alenia Space as system prime contractor and Airbus as co-prime. The three-axis stabilized satellite weighed approximately 1,110 kg at launch.
It will be used 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, said Arianespace. The consortium added that it was the 11th consecutive successful launch of a Vega rocket since 2012. Thales Alenia Space supplied the payload, including the optical instruments, the image transmission subsystem and the ground segment for image processing and production.
Airbus was in charge of its integration, as well as supplying the platform and the ground segment for mission planning and satellite control. The Mohammed VI-A is the 150th satellite built by Thales Alenia Space to be launched by Arianespace, which has 15 more satellites from this manufacturer in its order book. The space imagery, operated from Morocco, will play a key role in the implementation of national strategies for socio-economic development, especially those relating to the agricultural sector which constitutes one of the main pillars of the Moroccan economy.
The satellite will also help in land management, through effective control of housing and buildings, as well as tighter monitoring of slum eradication, the statement said. It will also help Morocco better manage water resources and prospect underground water.