WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a trio of Canadian synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites June 12 that promise higher resolution imagery with shorter revisit times.
The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:17 a.m. Eastern. The launch took place on schedule and without any issues despite dense fog that prevented the rocket’s liftoff from being seen.
The Falcon 9’s first stage made a pinpoint landing nearly eight minutes after liftoff at the Landing Zone 4 next to the launch site. The launch was the second for that stage, which launched the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight called Demo-1 from Florida in March.
The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload, the three-satellite Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM), about an hour after liftoff. The three satellites were released from the upper stage over a span of seven and a half minutes.
MDA, the Canadian subsidiary of Maxar Technologies, built the three RCM satellites for the Canadian government. Each satellite weights 1,430 kilograms will be spaced evenly in the same 600-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit. The satellites’ C-band radars will be able to produce SAR imagery with resolutions as sharp ...