Canadian Radarsat satellites head to orbit on SpaceX rocket

LOS ANGELES — Three satellites for the Canadian Space Agency's Earth-monitoring Radarsat program are heading toward orbit aboard a SpaceX rocket.

The Falcon 9 booster blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 7:17 a.m. Wednesday.

SpaceX intends to fly the rocket's first stage back to the base northwest of Los Angeles and area residents have been advised they may hear a sonic boom during its return. The booster was previously used for a launch in March.

Deployment of the three satellites is scheduled to be complete just over an hour after liftoff.

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.

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