Buenos Aires, July 28 Argentina is preparing for the launch of the first of four satellites into space to help monitor geological conditions and manage disasters, according to its national space agency..The launch is scheduled for September form the US Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Xinua news agency reported.The Microwave Observation Satellite -- SAOCOM 1-A -- will be shipped later in July, said the National Space Activities Commission (CONAE).The satellite has been designed and built by state-owned high-tech firm INVAP, CONAE spokesperson Josefina Peres told reporters during a tour of its headquarters in Bariloche.With an expected operational life of 5.5 years, the satellite will orbit some 620 km above the earth's surface. Its powerful antenna is capable of sensing up to two meters below the earth, to collect data useful for agriculture, fishing, mining, geology, urban development and disaster management, CONAE said."SAOCOM 1-A is capable of capturing 500 images as it orbits 15 times a day," Peres said.Once in orbit, SAOCOM 1-A will mark CONAE's fifth space mission. It would join two prior orbiting satellites ARSAT-1 and ARSAT-2, which were built by ArSat and launched in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
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