Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a rocket carrying three satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County Wednesday, then successfully recovered the rocket’s first stage booster.
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 first stage of the rocket was maneuvered back to Vandenberg, causing a sonic boom along the Central Coast.
The three satellites, part of Canada’s RADARSAT Constellation of Earth-observation satellites, were later successfully deployed into orbit. According to the Canadian Space Agency, the satellites will gather data for a variety of uses, primarily for maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring.
The Falcon 9 first stage was previously used in a mission in March, when it carried SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule into orbit during an uncrewed demonstration mission. The first stage was refurbished and reflown, bringing SpaceX closer to its goal of narrowing the window between flights.
The next launch on the schedule for SpaceX is another Falcon Heavy launch set for June 24, which will be its third flight and its first for the U.S. Air Force. On board, it’ll have the USAF’s Space Test Program Flight 2, which includes experimental small payloads and some research projects from NASA.