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WASHINGTON — Arianespace completed the company's tenth launch this year Nov. 7, delivering a Moroccan Earth observation satellite to low-Earth orbit on a Vega rocket.

The mission, Arianespace's penultimate for the year, marks the 11th consecutive success for the Avio-supplied Vega, a light-lift rocket that has picked up a regular cadence now within the Arianespace family of rockets.

Vega took off at 8:42 p.m. Eastern from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana with Morocco's Mohammed 6-A satellite. The rocket's three solid stages — all with engines from Rome-based Avio — performed as planned, followed by two successful burns of the Attitude and Vernier Upper Module liquid engine from Ukrainian supplier Yuzhnoye.

Vega lifts off Nov. 7 with the Moroccan Earth observation satellite Mohammed 6-A.
Vega lifts off Nov. 7 with the Moroccan Earth observation satellite Mohammed 6-A.
Credit: Arianespace video still

The nighttime launch is the third Vega mission of 2017, following the August dual launch of Optsat-3000 for the Italian Ministry of Defense and the Israeli-French Venµs science mission, and the March launch of the European Commission's Sentinel-2B.

Arianespace has nine more Vega missions already sold. In September the company purchased six more Vegas from Avio, along with four of the next generation Vega C, for which a first launch is planned in 2019.

Mohammed 6-A is the first of two Earth observation satellites in a Moroccan constellation, and is designed for both environmental monitoring applications and border surveillance. Thales Alenia Space built the satellite's payload, while co-prime Airbus Defence and Space supplied the Astrobus platform and integration services.

The satellite has a mass of 1,110 kilograms. Both companies contributed to Mohammed 6-A's ground segment, and are also building the second Moroccan Earth-observation satellite.

Arianespace's final mission of the year is a Dec. 12 Ariane 5 launch carrying four Galileo European navigation satellites. The European launch provider originally had 12 missions slated for this year, but dropped one Ariane 5 after delays with Yahsat's Al Yah 3 and Avanti's Hylas-4 pushed both satellites out to 2018.

This story was provided by SpaceNews, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.