SpaceX launches Canadian Radarsat satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base

SpaceX Dragon cargo craft arrives at ISS with help of Canadian-made robotic arm

Radarsat-2 was launched in 2007 and is still operational, but the new three-satellite constellation is created to greatly increase coverage, according to the space agency.

I was able to view the Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch this morning at 7:17 am from the Botanic Garden in Mission Canyon which was just above the fog.

The first stage separated a few minutes into flight and headed back to the coastal base, extended its legs and set down on a landing zone.

The rocket was launched at about 17:17 Moscow time from air force base Vandenberg in California.

Lift-off for the RADARSAT Constellation Mission-organized by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)-will take place at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the primary launch window opening at 7:17 a.m. PDT and closing shortly after at 7:30 a.m.

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The third mission, dubbed the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), ups the ante by sending three satellites up simultaneously.

About one hour later, the three radar-imaging satellites were deployed to orbit.

The mission will capture images of Earth's water, land, ice and atmosphere during the day and night and in all types of weather, including heavy cloud cover, smoke and haze. Following the separation, SpaceX says it will try to land the rocket on a landing pad, right next to the launch site. The expected lifespan of RCM is seven years for each satellite. They have the capacity to capture an image of a given location on about 90 per cent of the world's surface, but they will be primarily used to keep tabs on Canadian territory for the federal government. In near-earth space, they will replace the satellite system RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2, which operated from 1995 to 2013 and from 2007 to present, respectively. According to Canada's Space Agency, they will be used to gather data for a variety of purposes, including maritime surveillance, disaster management, and ecosystem monitoring.

The RCM satellites represent the next stage of Canada's Radarsat program, which eyes our planet in radio-wavelength light.

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