PAZ satellite

An artist's rendering of the PAZ satellite, which is scheduled to be launched into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

SpaceX is scheduled to conduct its first West Coast launch of the year Saturday, when the company aims to carry a Spanish satellite into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The launch is scheduled for 6:17 a.m. Saturday from VAFB’s Space Launch Complex-4.

Col. Greg Wood, vice commander of the 30th Space Wing, will be the space launch commander.

“The 30th Space Wing is ready to support the first West Coast SpaceX launch of 2018,” Wood said, according to VAFB public affairs. “Each launch marks the culmination of hard work and dedication of Team V. We are excited to support this mission as we continue to provide safe, secure access to polar orbit.”

The 3,000-pound PAZ satellite was developed by Airbus, a commercial aircraft manufacturer, and HISDESAT, a Spanish government satellite services operator that deals primarily in the areas of defense, security, intelligence and foreign affairs.

PAZ, which is Spanish for “peace,” will carry a radar-imaging payload to collect views of Earth to “address civilian needs with multiple applications,” according to the company's website. It is Spain's first radar satellite.

The satellite is designed for a mission of five and a half years and is set to orbit Earth 15 times per day.

SpaceX conducted a static-fire test — in which the booster’s rocket engines are fired up — of the Falcon 9 on Sunday. The rocket will utilize a previously flown first-stage booster.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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