Update for 10:30 p.m. ET: Arianespace has confirmed that the Vega rocket failed to reach orbit, and telemetry was lost a few minutes after liftoff. Check back here later for more updates on the launch failure.
A European Vega rocket will launch a new Earth observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates today (July 10), and you can watch the liftoff live online!
The Vega rocket, topped with the FalconEye1 satellite, will launch from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 9:53 p.m. EDT (10:53 p.m. local time, or 0153 GMT on July 11).
Arianespace, the European launch provider in charge of this mission, will begin a live webcast with English commentary about 15 minutes before liftoff. You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Arianespace, or directly via the company's YouTube.
Tonight's mission was originally scheduled to launch last Friday (July 5), but Arianespace delayed the mission twice due to unfavorable weather conditions. On July 5, the company scrubbed the launch due to high-altitude winds and postponed it until July 7. Winds had still not subsided by their second launch attempt, and the launch was delayed indefinitely, Arianespace officials said in a statement.
By this morning (July 10), wind conditions had finally improved, and Arianespace announced that it "has decided to initiate the chronology operations for its launch of Flight VV15."
After liftoff, it will take about an hour before the FalconEye1 satellite separates from the rocket's upper stage and is released into orbit. The satellite will enter a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 380 miles (611 kilometers) above the Earth. It will take high-resolution images of the Earth while circling the planet near the terminator, or the line between night and day, while passing over the North and South Poles.
Later this year, Arianespace will launch another identical satellite, FalconEye2, also on a Vega rocket. Imagery from the two FalconEye satellites will support the United Arab Emirates armed forces, and they will be available for commercial use, Arianespace officials said in a description of the mission.
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