Despite some storm clouds, a Falcon 9 rocket rose to the sky and managed to place a new radar observation satellite over the into an orbit over the Poles of the planet. The moment was quite special, especially since its one of the first polar missions in decades.
While SpaceX wanted to launch two Falcon 9 rockets on the same day, the second preparations for the second rocket took too much time, and the flight has been rescheduled for Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center.
The rocket and payload were carried into space by the power of 9 Merlin engines, with the launch taking at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on pad 40. It pursued an unusual trajectory through the southeast area from the Space Coast before going above Fort Lauderdale and Miami as it climbed towards the Polar Orbit.
Eight minutes into the launch, the booster fired its engines to slow down during the descent and extended its landing gear, returning to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral without issues, marking the 59th successful return of a Falcon 9 booster to surface.
The satellite, which was built in Argentina, comes with advanced research tools, including a radar imaging instrument. Known under the name of SAOCOM 1B, the spacecraft will scan Earth with the aim of collecting radio occultation data. The shared payload also included a microsatellite that is the first in a future fleet of 20.
By analyzing the way in which the atmosphere can influence GPS signals, the spacecraft can offer useful information for weather forecasts. SpaceX decided to use an optimized trajectory in the case of the polar launch to facilitate a smaller crew at Vanderberg since there is a lower number of launches during this time of the year.
More launches will take place in the following weeks.