SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 RocketS

SpaceX saw another major milestone this weekend with the first flight of its upgraded Falcon-9 rocket. The next-generation, 22-story-high launch vehicle was used to catapult the Canadian Space Agency's Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (a.k.a. CASSIOPE) into orbit Sunday afternoon.

Top photo by Matt Hartman via LAT

Via SPACE.com:

[CASSIOPE] will keep an eye on the effects of solar particles when they hit the Earth's atmosphere. If all goes well, the CASSIOPE space weather missionshould bring a wealth of scientific data, the mission's backers say.

The science team on CASSIOPE is very knowledgeable, experienced and reputable in this domain of science," Guennadi Kroupnik, the CSA's director of space utilization development, told SPACE.com. "However, experience with this space mission, we believe, will help to position the team and scientists even further in [the] international context."

Read more about Sunday's launch at SPACE.com, LA Times and SpaceX.