SpaceX launches Radarsat constellation, with booster returning for foggy landing

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 13, 2019

Little could be seen from the ground when the rocket lifted off at 7:17 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but that didn't matter to the three satellites tucked inside the Falcon 9's nose cone for the Radarsat Constellation Mission.

The rocket is carrying the RADARSAT Constellation Mission - and consists of three satellites for the Canadian Space Agency.

Vandenberg Air Force officials have confirmed the launch window for early Wednesday morning, and cautioned that residents in nearby counties - including San Luis Obispo County - might hear a sonic boom as the re-usable SpaceX rocket returns to the landing pad after launch.

In March, that booster helped send SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station.

The 13-minute launch window opens at 10:17 a.m. EDT (1417 GMT; 7:17 a.m. local California time).

The RADARSAT Constellation is the third RADARSAT mission Canada has launched.

The identical satellites will bounce signals off the Earth's surface to create images, even during adverse weather conditions.

The $1.2-billion government-owned project will replace the RADARSAT-2 satellite, which has been in orbit since 2007. The three satellites will orbit Earth at an altitude of 370 miles.

The images are used for a wide range of purposes, including monitoring sea ice, disaster management and agricultural and forestry management.

Primary control of the satellites is from the space agency's headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. RADARSAT-1, launched in 1995 from Vandenberg on a Delta II, finally died in 2013 after exceeding its design life by over 12 years.

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