Friday, December 16, 2011
Blastoff! Chile's New Satellite In Orbit
Chile's new satellite was launched into orbit the evening of Friday, Dec. 16 from a facility in the French Guiana. The FASat-Charlie satellite is a joint military-civilian program in which the 117-kg spacecraft will be used for mapping, agricultural monitoring, environmental research, management of natural resources, and of course to peek into neighboring countries' military installations. Reports say FASat-Charlie's sensors are powerful enough to detect submarines on the surface. The $72 million satellite, built by Europe's Astrium, is considered the most powerful in South America. It is scheduled to be in orbit for five years. Chile's Air Force will operate a ground control station at the El Bosque air base. FASat-Charlie is not the first satellite Chile has put in space. The first project, in 1995, was a failure after the satellite never separated from its booster rocket. The second spacecraft, launched in 1998, operated for three years.