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SpaceX successfully launched three satellites into Earth's orbit today. Here's what they do

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network stands ready for launch on space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Elon Musk’s Space
A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network stands ready for launch on space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently successfully completed its rocket launch this morning in California.
John Raoux, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully completed its rocket launch early this morning in California.

According to CBS News, the mission cost over $900 million in total and lasted a little over an hour. SpaceX posted on Twitter at 8:25 a.m. that the Falcon 9 rocket had successfully landed, while Musk noted the touchdown occurred in a heavy fog.

The Verge also reports the launch was SpaceX’s sixth Falcon 9 mission this year. While in orbit, the Falcon 9 jettisoned three RADARSAT satellites, which were developed by the Canadian Space Agency and act as a constellation of data-gathering platforms.

“The (RADARSAT) spacecraft are meant to operate nearly 400 miles up, where they will observe Canada’s land and waters, as well as the Arctic. The goal is to gather data on sea ice in nearby oceans and the Great Lakes, as well as the changing ecosystems within Canada,” The Verge writes.

CBS also notes the satellites will each take about 96 minutes to orbit the Earth and will take 250,000 images per year. The previous version of the satellite took 24 days to circle back over any given sites, while the newer model flies over the same point every four days.

"Why is this important? It's because we can use these images to measure changes in ground movement, for example, which can help us understand what's happening on the Earth better," said Magdalena Wierus, the RADARSAT Constellation project management engineer.