The dedicated smallsat launcher, Rocket Lab, announced last Tuesday that they will try to push their launch schedule with a rapid succession of missions starting later this month.
Rocket Lab announced that they will launch 3 missions for BlackSky, which provides global geospatial information for customers. The first launch, named “Love At First Insight”, will launch two of BlackSky’s Gen-2 satellites later this year and will bring Rocket Lab’s total deployed satellites to 107.
We’ve been expecting a back-to-back launch set up from Rocket Lab for some time now. While they are not launching within hours of each other, these three launches will be spaced out close enough to each other to push what has been possible for launches from the company.
These launches are expected to start later this month and go into September, although no official dates have been given so far. This will be Rocket Lab’s second launch since their Electron rocket failed to reach orbit on their 20th mission, an issue that has since been fixed in the second stage.
Long Beach, California. August 10, 2021 – Rocket Lab, a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced its next mission is part of a rapid launch schedule of three dedicated Electron missions for Spaceflight Inc.’s customer, global monitoring provider BlackSky.
Scheduled to lift-off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula in late August, the ‘Love At First Insight’ mission will be Rocket Lab’s 22nd Electron launch overall and fifth mission of 2021. ‘Love At First Insight’ is the first in a rapid succession of scheduled Electron launches between late August through September that represents the company’s fastest launch turnarounds to date.
The ‘Love At First Insight’ mission is the latest in a multi-launch agreement signed earlier this year for BlackSky between Rocket Lab and Spaceflight Inc., which is providing integration and mission management services for BlackSky. This mission will deploy the eighth and ninth satellites of BlackSky’s planned constellation as part of that rapid-launch agreement, with another four Gen-2 smallsats across the two additional Electron dedicated missions to follow.
Electron will deploy two of BlackSky’s high-resolution, multi-spectral, Gen-2 satellites to low Earth orbit, expanding BlackSky’s network in space and offering of real-time geospatial intelligence and monitoring services. BlackSky combines high-resolution images captured by its constellation of microsatellites with its proprietary artificial intelligence software to deliver analytics and insights to industries including transportation, infrastructure, land use, defense, supply chain management, and humanitarian aid.
“Dedicated launch on Electron means a bespoke service for satellite operators who want control over their schedule and orbital parameters,” says Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Rapid launch with these three back-to-back missions enables BlackSky to fast-track their plans for a constellation that meets the hunger for real-time data produced by multiple images within 24 hours, rather than one image at the same time each day.”
“We’ve been partnering strongly with Rocket Lab over the past several months to gain high confidence in a launch campaign that will increase the capacity of our space network,” said Brian E. O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “This cadence of rapid launches demonstrates the accelerated pace at which we are able to expand our constellation and reinforces our commitment to delivering real-time data and intelligence.”via Rocket Lab
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