LIMA – Peru’s first Earth observation satellite has been launched into orbit aboard the European rocket Vega from a space station in French Guiana.
The submetric (0.7-meter resolution) observation satellite was launched at 8:43 p.m. local time Thursday (0143 GMT Friday) from the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou and its progress was observed from the National Satellite Imagery Operations Center, or CNOIS, in Pucusana, a resort south of Lima.
The Peruvian Defense Ministry provided live footage of the launch.
Defense Minister Mariano Gonzalez said at the CNOIS that “the launch of PeruSAT-1 is a milestone because for the first time it will provide us with technology capacity” for 10 years.
“PeruSAT-1 is the region’s most powerful submetric observation satellite in its category,” he added.
The 400-kilogram (881-pound) device will travel at a speed of seven kilometers (4.3 miles) per second and orbit Earth at an altitude of 694 kilometers (431 miles) with an image swath width of 14.5 kilometers (9 miles).
PeruSAT-1 was purchased by former President Ollanta Humala’s 2011-2016 administration and is considered the most sophisticated observation satellite in Latin America with the ability to capture images of objects with dimensions of less than 1 meter (39 inches).
Peruvian authorities say the satellite will provide multiple benefits in the areas of security, national defense, productive activities and disaster prevention.
The satellite was built in France by Airbus Defence and Space in partnership with the National Commission for Aerospace Research and Development, or Conida, Peru’s space agency.
PeruSAT-1 is part of the Submetric Satellite System, which under a 2014 government-to-government agreement with France also encompasses construction of the CNOIS, a technology-transfer program and access by Peru to images captured by other French satellites.
CNOIS’ operations chief, Edgar Guevara, told local media that the cost of building the satellite and launching it into orbit was 150 million euros ($168.6 million).
PeruSAT-1 bears Conida’s logo and a pair of messages: “Kausachum Peru” (“Long Live Peru!” in the Quechua language) and “this represents the dreams, labor and success of Peruvians working on and developing Peru’s space capabilities.”