A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket pierced a layer of low clouds early Wednesday as it carried three satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County.
The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the RADARSAT Constellation for the Canadian Space Agency happened on schedule at 7:17 a.m. SpaceX again recovered the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket by landing it back at Vandenberg.
Recovering rockets has become a typical practice for SpaceX, which reuses the rockets in an effort to lower the costs of launches.
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The Radarsat satellites bounce signals off the Earth's surface to create images even during adverse weather conditions. The images are used for a wide range of purposes, including monitoring sea ice, disaster management and agricultural and forestry management.
The returning rocket was expected to generate sonic booms as it traveled faster than the speed of sound on re-entry. The booms would likely be audible in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obsipo counties.