SpaceX launches rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

James Marshall
Июня 12, 2019

SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, containing the Canadian Space Agency's Radarsat trio of Earth observation satellites on Wednesday.

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.

The flight has a relatively narrow 13-minute window. It helped send SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station this past March.

And there will be a landing attempt as well: About 8 minutes after liftoff, the first stage will come back down at Vandenberg's Landing Zone 4.

The rocket will carry satellites for the Canadian Space Agency's RadarSat Constellation mission. Two Radarsat satellites have made it to Earth orbit to date. These aren't the first Radarsat satellites to head to space: Radarsat-1 took observations from 1995 to 2013, while Radarsat-2 began its mission in December 2007 and is still "watching" our planet.

The RCM will also collect images of areas affected by disasters, such as flooding or severe storms, to help the Canadian government "organize emergency response efforts and protect the local population".

The satellites, which will settle into an orbit about 370 miles above Earth, will use synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, which unlike visual imaging satellites, uses radio energy to see through clouds, Quartz reported.

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