News and UpdatesVandenberg Air Force Base

Mission Overview: RADARSAT Constellation Mission (June 12, RTLS confirmed)

As of today, June 8, we’re four days out from launch of the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5. The mission will take off at 7:17 AM PDT from SLC-4, and will land back at LZ-4 about 8-10 minutes later. The payload, 3 RCM satellites, are targeting a Sun-Synchronous Orbit at 593 kilometers, inclined 97.74 degrees.

Viewing this launch will be tough. Previously, SpaceX closed Ocean Road, the closest viewing site to all pads, during the last RTLS. That means you will have to find a different viewing site. The official site recommended by the 30th Space Wing is the “Hawk’s Nest”, open to the public off of Highway 1 roughly a mile south of the main gate of Vandenberg. You may not even get to see anything though, as visibility is forecast to be patchy at best, with fog plaguing the launch site until 11 AM. Depending on how bad visibility is, it may be best to just go as close as possible for the sound experience.

However, if visibility does work out, there is a new viewing site some of you may want to try. Reader S. Rodger Bock commented on the previous RCM update saying:

So, if any of you adventurous launch rats want to try out a new site, check out Bishop Road, if visibility permits! Thank you Rodger for the comment.

For now, there are no further updates on the mission. Further information can be found at SpaceX’s twitter, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs, and the Canadian Space Agency’s page on RADARSAT.

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