SpaceX is going to launch a trio of satellites for the Canadian government this morning. It is SpaceX’s seventh orbital mission this year. SpaceX has set another benchmark for itself by launching 7 orbital missions in the time span of less than a year. It is much more than what any other private company has ever achieved.
SpaceX is going to launch the three Canadian satellites today
The launch of the three radar satellites is expected to take place at around 10:17 am ET from California Vandenberg Air Force Base around 140 miles north-west of Los Angeles. The rocket that will be used in this orbital mission is no fresh-factory model. It is the same that had been used in the test drive of SpaceX’s astronaut-carrying spacecraft earlier this year.
However, this might not be the 70 meters tall Falcon 9’s last take-off. For the company has planned its return back to earth at a landing zone that is just half a kilometre away from its take-off position. The entire action will be witnessed live on the company’s live stream.
The three satellites are programmed to use (SAR) synthetic aperture radar which is highly beneficial due to its radio energy. For unlike optical cameras, radars can peek through clouds and ergo can make observations day and night.
The Radar Constellation Mission also known as RCM encases a total of three identical satellites which are all build by MDA. MDA is a Canadian division of Maxar. The Canadian Space Agency has developed the radar imagery project so as to provide the Canadian government with accurate information that can be made available 24*7.
Canadian Government is trying to monitor nature while protecting its own territory
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 11, 2019
The radar satellites emit signals so as to measure the waves that are reflected back from Earth’s surface. It can collect information about Earth’s structure as well as about the ships, ice, crops and forests that adorn our Earth. Mike Greenley, who is the group president of MDA said
Earth observation is critical, and radar-based Earth observation gives Canada excellent capability to deal with the sovereignty and security of Canadians,”.
Magdalena Wierus, who is a project management engineer of RCM said
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,”
Most of Canada’s coastline is situated in remote regions of the Arctic, which is far away from the terrestrial observation posts hence the satellites are much in need.
Falcon 9 and RADARSAT Constellation Mission are vertical on SpaceX’s California launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base. After stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage at Landing Zone 4 → https://t.co/gtC39uBC7z pic.twitter.com/BZHkDW3gQT
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 11, 2019
About the satellite
The three 1,430 kilogram spacecraft can be counted as a new addition to series of Canadian radar observation satellites. Canada previously launched Radarsat 1 in the year 1995 and later Radarsat 2 in the year 2007.
The Radarsat Constellation Mission project is costing the Canadian government around 900 million dollars. The aforementioned cost includes the money spent on its launch and development. It also includes the seven years of planned operations. These estimates have been provided by the RSM mission manager Steve Iris.
RCM is Canada’s one of the most expensive space mission. It is also one of the most costly payloads that have ever been launched by SpaceX.
— Natural Resources (@NRCan) June 5, 2019
Information about the benefits that the SpaceX satellites encase
When the three radar satellites are observing in spotlight mode, each has the best resolution consisting of 3 meters in range and 1 meter in azimuth. One of the most beneficial points about the satellites is that together they make the Government capable of revisiting a point on earth every four days.
It could be considered as an upgrade of the revisit provided by the Radarsat 2 which took a time span of 24 days. RCM can efficiently cover the whole of Canada in a 24 hour period. Ergo can be considered as an important project for Canada.
RCM holds the capacity of imaging any given location or point on 90% of the Earth’s surface. However, it would primarily be used for imaging Canadian territories. RCM satellites will be appointed for maritime surveillance, environmental monitoring as well as for tracking movement of icebergs. It will also be used from tracking the growth and retreat of glaciers and ice-sheets.
RCM is undoubtedly an asset for Canada. It’s an addition to Canadian space-crafts will definitely catapult the Canadian government’s power and security.
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