SpaceX's RADARSAT Constellation Mission Lifts Off From Vandenberg Air Force Base

SpaceX launch

SpaceX's RADARSAT Constellation Mission Lifts Off From Vandenberg Air Force Base

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.

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is the successor to the CSA's RADARSAT-2 satellite which was launched in 2007.

SpaceX launched 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.

Update June 12th, 11:20AM ET: Despite heavy fog obscuring the view of the launchpad, SpaceX successfully launched and deployed all three RADARSAT spacecraft into orbit this morning.

The three-satellite configuration will provide daily revisits of Canada's vast territory and maritime approaches, as well as daily access to any point of 90 percent of the world's surface. They will work in tandem and are expected to generate 250,000 images per year - 50 times more than the first generation RADARSAT satellite.

The spacecraft were created to operate in the same orbital plane at an altitude of about 373 miles (600 kilometers), separated from each other by about 9,072 miles (14,600 kilometers) while circling the globe in about 96 minutes. The Canadian Space Agency says the satellites will gather data primarily for maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is proud to be part of this ground-breaking launch, and is looking forward to putting the data retrieved from the RADARSAT Constellation Mission to work for the benefit, safety and security of all Canadians who make their living on or from Canada's oceans.

SpaceX is the only rocket company that safely lands boosters after launching orbital missions.

SpaceX is attempting the secondary mission of landing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Landing Zone 4, which was previously called SLC-4W.

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