ESAIL Maritime Satellite Launched

The ESAIL satellite mounted on Arianespace’s new launch adapter. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The ESAIL microsatellite for tracking ships worldwide – developed under ESA’s Partnership Projects programme – has been launched aboard an Arianespace Vega from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch took place at 02:51 BST (03:51 CEST) on 3 September.

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What’s On Board Vega Booster

The European Vega rocket that launched this evening was carrying 53 satellites on its first rideshare mission as part of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service Proof of Concept Flight.

The payloads included 14 Flock 4V Earth imaging satellites from Planet, 12 SpaceBEE Internet of Things spacecraft from Swarm Technologies, and 8 maritime monitoring satellites from Spire.

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Delayed Vega Launch Now Set for September 1

Vega begins its ascent from the Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying Italy’s PRISMA Earth observation satellite on the third Arianespace mission of 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A new launch date of 1 September 2020 has been announced by Arianespace for Vega flight VV16.

Due to the persistence of exceptionally unfavourable winds at altitude over Europe’s Spaceport, Vega flight VV16, originally scheduled for 18 June 2020, was postponed, despite full availability of the launcher and the 53 satellites on this Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) mission.

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Video: LuxSpace CEO Discusses ESAIL Microsat Mission

Video Caption: LuxSpace CEO, Jochen Harms, on putting the ESAIL microsatellite into orbit. ESAIL is part of ESA’s Partnership Projects and has been developed to enhance the next generation of space‐based services for the maritime sector. The spacecraft will track ship movements over the entire globe as it orbits the planet.

Watch Vega’s Rideshare Launch Live This Weekend

Shown during the SSMS payload integration process for Arianespace’s Flight VV16 is the ION CubeSat carrier – a platform that will deploy 12 CubeSats after being placed in orbit by the Vega launcher. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Subject to favourable weather conditions, the soonest possible launch date for the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) proof-of-concept flight is Sunday 21 June from 02:36 BST/03:36 CEST (20 June at 22:51 local time in Kourou).

Please check here for updates.

Tune in to ESA Web TV to watch the return to flight of Vega on its debut rideshare mission dedicated to light satellites.

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ESAIL Maritime Satellite Ready for Launch

The ESAIL satellite prior to encapsulation. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The ESAIL microsatellite for tracking ships worldwide – developed under an ESA Partnership Project – has completed its accommodation on Vega’s new dispenser for small satellites and is ready for launch. 

The Vega launch campaign at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, resumed three weeks ago, following an interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Watching the Ships Go By, From Space

Jochen Harms (Credit: Luxembourg Space Agency)

Luxembourg Space Agency Q&A

LuxSpace CEO, Jochen Harms, on putting the ESAIL microsatellite into orbit

As CEO of LuxSpace, how do you feel in the weeks leading up to the launch of your ESAIL satellite?

I think we are all extremely happy that the project is finally coming to fruition, but we are also a bit nervous about the launch.

It’s an exceptional moment because ‘things’ can happen during a launch. Five years work can succeed or fail in a single moment.

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Canada’s exactEarth Signs Launch Service Agreement with Arianespace.

PARIS (ESA PR) — The first commercial microsatellite developed under ESA’s SAT‐AIS programme for tracking ships, called ESAIL, has passed another milestone. On 9 May its Canadian operator exactEarth signed the launch service agreement with Arianespace.ESAIL is part of ESA’s Partnership Projects and has been developed to enhance the next generation of space‐based services for the maritime sector. The spacecraft will track ship movements over the entire globe as it orbits the planet.

Satellite coverage is essential as about 90% of global trade takes place on the oceans. It opens the door to enhanced safety, tracking ships and route provisions for industry, government and maritime authorities.

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