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Watch a Vega Rocket Launch an Italian Earth-Observing Satellite!

Encapsulated in its protective payload fairing, Italy’s PRISMA satellite is positioned atop its Vega rocket.
Encapsulated in its protective payload fairing, Italy’s PRISMA satellite is positioned atop its Vega rocket. (Image credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique video du CSG - S. Martin)

An Italian Earth-observing satellite will take to the skies tonight (March 21), and you can watch the action live.

The PRISMA spacecraft is scheduled to launch atop an Arianespace Vega rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, at 9:50 p.m. EDT (0150 GMT on March 22). 

Watch it live at Space.com, courtesy of Arianespace, or directly via the launch provider here.

PRISMA, whose name is short for "Precursore Iperspettrale della Missione Applicativa," will be operated by Italy's national space agency. The satellite will set up shop in low-Earth orbit and make observations that aid resource management, environmental monitoring and other fields, Arianespace representatives have said.

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Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.