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Canadian Radarsat satellites launched aboard SpaceX rocket

Canadian Radarsat satellites launched aboard SpaceX rocket

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission involves three synthetic aperture radar satellites that will supply considerably more advanced Earth observation data than the earlier, single-satellite RADARSAT-2.

The satellites were released Wednesday from the SpaceX Falcon 9's upper stage a few minutes apart from each other to space them apart on the same orbital plane.

The Radarsat Constellation Mission follows up on two previous generations of Canadian Radarsat spacecraft.

SpaceX is using one of its used Falcon 9 rockets for the mission, a vehicle that previously flew the company's Crew Dragon capsule on its very first flight to the International Space Station back in March.

On Wednesday, the reusable rocket blasted-off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base with a payload featuring three Canadian Space Agency satellites.

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"Built by MDA, a Maxar company, the three-satellite configuration of the RCM will provide daily revisits of Canada's vast territory and maritime approaches, including the Arctic up to 4 times a day, as well as daily access to any point of 90% of the world's surface", SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission description. Once in orbit, they will travel at speeds of around 16,900 miles per hour, completing a full circle of the Earth in approximately 96 minutes. After takeoff, SpaceX will attempt to land its rocket on a landing pad next to the vehicle's launch site. The trio is designed for an operating life of seven years.

"In addition to our resource-based economy requiring monitoring of our forests, mining, energy, and agricultural industries, our northern latitudes that are sensitive to climate change gain from space-based radar systems that can observe the Earth day and night in any weather conditions", she said.

The public can view this launch from the Hawk's Nest on Azalea Lane off of Hwy 1 just over a mile south of Vandenberg AFB's main gate, which will open at 6 a.m. and close after the conclusion of the landing of the first stage.

The gathered data will be used for a variety of tasks, including maritime tracking, monitoring Arctic ice, assessing crops and planning for natural disasters.