SpaceX has announced that its Falcon 9 rocket has successfully launched on Aug. 30th, carrying the SAOCOM 1B mission, the company reported on Monday. The mission has placed the SAOCOM 1B spacecraft into orbit as well as two rideshare payloads, Tyvak-0172 and PlanetiQ’s GNOMES-1.
The mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. , signifying SpaceX’s first launch to a polar orbit from the East Coast, and the first polar launch from Florida in decades.
Falcon 9’s first stage previously launched Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) for SpaceX’s 19th and 20th commercial resupply missions, and it also supported the launch of SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission.
SAOCOM 1B was deployed approximately 14 minutes after launch. GNOMES-1 and Tyvak-0172 deployed approximately 61 and 62 minutes after liftoff respectively.
Polar orbits are popular for weather and remote sensing satellites to enable coverage of the Earth’s full surface. SpaceX launched the first SAOCOM satellite, SAOCOM-1A, into a polar orbit from Vandenberg in Oct. 2018 on a Falcon 9 rocket.
The Aug. 30 launch of Saocom-1B has completed Argentina’s SAOCOM system, which has consisted of twin 3,000-kilogram satellites equipped with L-band phased array antennas that can image day and night and through clouds. The SAOCOM satellites are designed to detect soil moisture and strengthen Argentina’s agricultural sector.
“The quality of the image that we obtained with the SAOCOM-1A is very amazing,” Gabriel Cristian Absi, vice president of INVAP’s aerospace division said. “There are a lot of companies and governmental [entities] in Argentina that are very interested in the information that SAOCOM can provide to them.”
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. As one of the world’s fastest growing providers of launch services, SpaceX has secured over 100 missions to its manifest, representing over $12 billion on contract.