The French military plans to launch three new satellites into Earth orbit early Tuesday (Nov. 16), and you can watch it live here.
An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch three CERES satellites (short for “Capacité de Renseignement d’origine Electromagnétique Spatiale,” which translates to “Intelligence Capacity of Space Electromagnetic Origin”) from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 4:27 a.m. EST (0927 GMT).
You can watch the launch live in the video above, which will begin about 30 minutes before liftoff, courtesy of Arianespace. You can also watch it directly via the company’s website and on YouTube.
Using high-performance sensors, the military satellites will locate and characterize transmitters used for enemy communications and radar emitters. The three CERES satellites will fly in formation, circling Earth in a sun-synchronous orbit, or a nearly polar orbit in which the satellites pass over the same location at approximately the same time every day.
“The objective of the CERES (CapacitÉ de Renseignement Électromagnétique Spatiale) military electronic intelligence mission is to gather signals intelligence from areas that surface sensors cannot reach, free from airspace overflight constraints and in all weathers, thus providing an in-depth situational picture to support conception and execution of military operations,” the French space agency CNES said in a mission description. “Signals collected by each satellite will be combined to precisely locate detected communication systems.”
Tuesday’s launch will be the third Vega launch of 2021 and the 12th mission this year for the European launch provider Arianespace. The previous Vega launch on Aug. 16 sent a new Earth observation satellite and four small cubesats into sun-synchronous orbits.
The next time Arianespace launches a mission from French Guiana will be on Dec. 18, when the company’s Ariane 5 rocket is scheduled to launch the James Webb Space Telescope for NASA.