SpaceX launches Radarsat constellation, with booster returning for foggy landing

SpaceX launches Radarsat constellation, with booster returning for foggy landing

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket rises above the fog surrounding California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, sending three Canadian radar-sensing satellites spaceward. (SpaceX via YouTube)

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.

Little could be seen from the ground when the rocket lifted off at 7:17 p.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but that didn’t matter to the three satellites tucked inside the Falcon 9’s nose cone for the Radarsat Constellation Mission.

send a Crew Dragon spaceship to the International Space Station on an uncrewed test mission in March — successfully flew itself back down through the murk to SpaceX’s Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg, not far from where it took off.’ data-reactid=”26″>Minutes after launch, the Falcon 9’s second stage separated and pressed onward to orbit. Meanwhile, the rocket’s first-stage booster — which was previously used to send a Crew Dragon spaceship to the International Space Station on an uncrewed test mission in March — successfully flew itself back down through the murk to SpaceX’s Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg, not far from where it took off.

The touchdown was cheered by scores of SpaceX employees watching the video feed from the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. The booster will be refurbished for yet another launch, just as it was after March’s mission.

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