Launch News [SUCCESS] Falcon 9 Block 5 | RADARSAT Constellation

IronRain

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fired through a dense shroud of coastal fog and climbed into orbit Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, deploying a trio of radar observation satellites to begin a $900 million mission surveying the Arctic, maritime waters, forests and farmland for the Canadian government.

The Radarsat Constellation Mission, made up of three identical Earth-observing satellites, is led by the Canadian Space Agency, and is one of the most expensive missions in the history of the country’s space program.

The three Radarsat satellites lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg at 7:17:10 a.m. PDT (10:17:10 a.m. EDT; 1417:10 GMT). Seconds later, the Falcon 9 emerged from a thick blanket of fog as seen from a distant mountaintop tracking camera that provided live views of the rocket’s ascent.

Nine kerosene-fueled Merlin main engines propelled the rocket into the sky with 1.7 million pounds of thrust. But viewing opportunities for spectators, photographers and VIPs gathered at Vandenberg for the launch were thwarted by the dense fog layer hanging over the spaceport on California’s Central Coast.

After turning toward the south over the Pacific Ocean, the Falcon 9’s first stage pushed the rocket into the upper atmosphere, then shut down around 2 minutes, 13 seconds, into the mission. The booster separated and reignited a subset of its engines to reverse course and return to Vandenberg.

The 15-story first stage booster touched down at Landing Zone 4, just a quarter-mile (400 meters) from its launch pad, around eight minutes after liftoff. It was the 41st time SpaceX has successfully landed one of its rocket boosters, and the second rocket return to Vandenberg.

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Thunder Chicken

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That landing approach dropping into the fog bank was pretty neat.

Amazing that they're now over a 85% recovery rate (41/48) for the Falcon9 stages. And it is improving with their launch tempo:

2015 1/3 33% (lost CRS-5 & CRS-6)
2016 5/8 63% (lost JASON-3, SES-9, Eutelsat)
2017 14/14 100%
2018 12/14 86% (lost FH demo core, CRS-16)
2019 9/9 100% so far
 

Sbb1413

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Re: Falcon 9 Block 5 | RADARSAT Constellation

I have never watched any rocket launches live, this is the first time I can!
 
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