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Radarsat Constellation to track ships, provide surveillance over Arctic and other regions

14 June 2019

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rose out of California's coastal fog today to send three radar-sensing satellites into orbit for the Canadian government.

In March, a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket was used to launch the SpaceX Demo-1 mission, the first orbital test of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. 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.

The Falcon 9 rocket, with its sooty previously-flown first stage, poised for launch at Vandenberg.

The launch through the morning fog of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the RADARSAT Constellation for the Canadian Space Agency occurred as scheduled at 7:17 a.m.

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is Canada's newest generation of radar Earth observation satellites that will contribute to a better understanding of Canada's land and natural resources.

Not only will they provide us with ultra-detailed radar maps of Canada, they will provide coverage of roughly 90 per cent of the Earth's surface.

Working together, the RADARSAT satellites-built by Vancouver-based company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, a subsidiary of Colorado firm Maxar Technologies-will monitor Canada's vast territory and the surrounding oceans daily, taking hundreds of thousands of images every year.

The mission will capture images of Earth's water, land, ice and atmosphere during the day and night and in all types of weather, including heavy cloud cover, smoke and haze. 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 mission is created to provide effective solutions in three main areas: maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring, according to the CSA.

"The (RADARSAT) spacecraft are meant to operate almost 400 miles up, where they will observe Canada's land and waters, as well as the Arctic".

Radarsat Constellation to track ships, provide surveillance over Arctic and other regions