SAPPHIRE key elements. c/o E/O Portal.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2013

Canadian Satellites Set to Launch: This Time for Sure!

by Brian Orlotti

The clock is still ticking for a quartet of Canadian satellites being launched on an Indian rocket.

The Indian Space and Research Organization’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flight C20 is currently scheduled for a February 25th, 2013 liftoff from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. The launch has suffered both recent (February 14th & February 18th) and long-term delays as outlined most recently in the January 14th, 2013 blog post “Robotic Refueling, Sapphire, NEOSst, CanX 3a, 3b and CASSIOPE on a Falcon 9,” but now seems set to finally move forward

The flight C20 payload includes the Department of National Defence (DND) Surveillance of Space (Sapphire) satellite, the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) and the CanX-3a BRIght-star Target Explorer (BRITE) and the CanX-3b (TUGsat1) micro-satellites. The Canadian satellites are a secondary payload, with space being shared with satellites from India, France, Denmark and the UK.

Sapphire will be Canada’s first operational military satellite. Loaded with optical sensors, its primary missions will be monitoring orbiting satellites and tracking space debris. Defence Research Development Canada (DRDC) proposed Sapphire in response to China’s 2007 test of an anti-satellite missile, which left much debris in low Earth orbit and served as a stark warning to other nations that their commercial and military space assets were vulnerable to attack.

Read more: Commercial Space: Canadian Satellites Set to Launch: This Time for Sure!.

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