Canada’s $1-billion space satellite system–an idea hatched in 2004 and green-lit in 2008–appears finally ready to blast off in May.
SpaceX is owned and operated by internet entrepreneur Elon Musk.
However, that assessment was made before the the U.S. Department of Defence announced in February it had started an investigation into whether the U.S. Air Force properly certified SpaceX’s Falcon rockets for national security launches.
Few other details have been made available and it remains unclear whether the Pentagon investigation will cause a delay for the launch of the Canadian satellites.
“The use of a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher meets the reliability and security requirements set out by the Government of Canada for RCM,” Canadian Space Agency spokesperson Audrey Barbier told Postmedia News.
Everyone is treading lightly since a launch failure–though considered a low possibility–would set the project back four years, the time it would take to rebuild the radarsat satellites.
The Canadian project ran into some bad luck last in December when a Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster successfully launched an unmanned cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station but failed to make a soft upright landing on the ground in Florida.
That rocket was to be used to launch Canada’s package from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. in February.
In addition, one rocket and its payload were destroyed on the launch pad in the fuelling process before a static fire test.
With files from CBC, Postmedia, CP