Canada will launch its first commercial space satellite on the first flight of the Canadian Space Agency’s Canadas-7 mission on Monday, marking the first time a country has made a satellite launch.
The Canadas 7 spacecraft is a twin-core, five-satellite constellation of the agency’s space surveillance, communication, navigation and reconnaissance satellites that were launched in late 2013.
Canada is the first country in the world to deploy its own space launch fleet, the first to have a dedicated commercial launch vehicle, and is the only country to have its own communications satellite in orbit.
Canada is the seventh country to achieve the feat.
The launch was delayed due to a technical issue that caused the launch vehicle to explode over the Pacific Ocean, but the launch was scheduled for 1:20 p.m.
PT (11:20 a.m., 20:20 GMT).
The Canads 7 satellite, named Canadas 9, will serve as a ground station for Canada’s communications and ground infrastructure operations.
The spacecraft’s payloads will include four satellites, two ground-based sensors and one communications satellite.
The agency says the mission will be Canada’s first commercial launch of an uncrewed satellite, and it will serve to demonstrate Canada’s ability to launch from Canadian soil, a capability the agency says is needed to build on Canada’s space program to develop capabilities for international missions, including space stations and lunar landings.
Canadian Space Agency President Jim Young said in a statement on the agency website that the mission “is a key milestone for Canada in its push to be a leading space and space-based industry, as well as for Canada as a whole.”
“The Canada 7 mission is a key demonstration for Canada to demonstrate the capabilities of our country to launch into space,” he said.
“The launch of the Canadas 6 mission is also a key moment for Canada.”
The Canadias satellite constellation includes the Aurora and Aurora satellites that are designed to provide surveillance, weather and communications services to Canada.
The mission also will be the first space launch by Canada’s new space station, Canadas 8.