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SpaceX Falcon 9 set to loft three Canadian radar satellites

12 Jun 2019, 02:24 UTC
SpaceX Falcon 9 set to loft three Canadian radar satellites
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SpaceX will deploy Canada’s Radarsat Constellation via a Falcon 9 launch Wednesday. Lifting off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force base at 07:17 Pacific Time (14:17 UTC), Falcon will deliver the three radar-imaging satellites to orbit a little over an hour later.

The Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) is the successor to the Canadian Space Agency’s Radarsat-2 satellite, marking the start of a third generation for Canada’s radar imaging satellite systems. While Radarsat-2 and the earlier Radarsat-1 were single-satellite missions, Radarsat Constellation uses three spacecraft to increase the frequency of coverage and enable new applications for the data the satellites gather. Falcon 9 will send all three satellites into orbit with a single launch on Wednesday.
Like the earlier Radarsat spacecraft, each RCM satellite carries a C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payload. A deployable antenna on the nadir – or Earth-facing – side of the satellite transmits signals towards the surface which are reflected back. By listening for these echoes and processing the results, the spacecraft can begin to build a profile of the ground below it. SAR imaging allows satellites to make observations of the Earth’s surface day or night, and in any weather conditions, whereas visual imaging techniques require clear ...

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