OTD: Launch of Radarsat-1, Canada’s first non-communication satellite launched since 1971

On today’s date in 1995, the Radarsat-1 earth observation satellite was launched aboard a Delta-II at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The first non-communication satellite launched by Canada since 1971, it was developed under the management of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in co-operation with Canada’s provincial governments and the private sector.

Its images of the Earth are used for scientific as well as marketing purposes and can assist a variety of industries, including agriculture, cartography, hydrology, forestry, oceanography, geology, ice and ocean monitoring plus Arctic surveillance.


A cover produced by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Stamp Club was cancelled on the day of the Radarsat-1 launch.


In 2003, Canada Post issued an eight-stamp “Canadian Astronauts” series.

Each of the series’ eight stamps was designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier, who used spherical shapes to evoke the path of an orbit. Depicted on the stamps is a twinkling star also found on the Canadian Space Agency’s logo. It represents a “productive, energy-producing star, believed to have influence over human destiny,” according to Canada Post.

“Its twinkling appearance is the result of holographic hot stamping and micro-embossing.”

Alongside each astronaut is a highlight of his or her mission while the back of the stamp pane provides brief descriptions. The bottom of the pane illustrates the “Canadian space handshake” of 2001, when the Canadarm2 on the International Space Station transferred its launching cradle to the Canadarm on the shuttle Endeavour, with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield at the controls.

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