This morning, SpaceX will launch its sixth Falcon 9 mission in 2019 in Southern California, sending three identical Canadian satellites into orbit. After takeoff, SpaceX will attempt to land a rocket at a landing area near the vehicle launch site. If successful, this will be the second time that SpaceX will land on the California coast.
The trio of satellites on today's flight is part of the RADARSAT constellation developed by the Canadian Space Agency. The spacecraft is expected to operate at nearly 400 miles altitude, where it will observe the lands and waters of Canada, as well as the Arctic. The goal is to collect sea ice data from nearby oceans and Great Lakes, as well as evolving ecosystems in Canada. This information will be useful to many groups, including sailors who will navigate Arctic waters and scientists who wish to understand the impact of climate change in the region. RADARSAT's satellite imagery could also contribute to disaster assistance.
SpaceX uses one of its used Falcon 9 rockets for the mission, a vehicle that previously piloted the company's Crew Dragon capsule on its very first flight to the International Space Station in March. After this launch, the Falcon 9 landed on one of SpaceX's drones off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic, but is now ready for a landing on the opposite coast. The first and only time SpaceX landed on the Falcon 9 rocket on California land dates back to October 2018. Almost all the company's attempts to land on firm ground have been successful, with the exception of who missed his trail in Florida and landed the ocean instead.
Today's takeoff is scheduled at 10:17 am ET / 7:17 am PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SpaceX has a short 13-minute launch window, so the Falcon 9 rocket can be launched until 10:30 am Paris time. SpaceX launch coverage will begin approximately 15 minutes before take-off. Come back to see if SpaceX can go to another landing on the ground.