MARRAKECH, Morocco — Morocco has launched its first observation satellite, which will be used for military activities, surveillance of its borders and coastline, and monitoring desertification in the region.

The Mohammed VI-A satellite was launched Wednesday from Kourou, French Guiana, in the presence of prominent Moroccan figures. It will be piloted from an operating center near the capital, Rabat.

To get all the news about space and strategic systems delivered to your inbox every month, be sure to sign up for our Military Space Report newsletter.

The launch service provider Arianespace says it will be used for mapping activities, spatial planning, monitoring of agricultural activities, prevention and management of natural disasters, and monitoring of environmental developments.

The satellite was built by Airbus Defense & Space and Thales Alenia Space. A second launch is planned for 2018. The project’s cost has not been disclosed.

The launch has reportedly raised concern in rival neighbor Algeria as well as in Spain.

More In Space