Launch Thread: Rocket Lab to launch two BlackSky satellites and attempt third booster recovery [Update: Launch delayed]

rocket lab launch

A few hours after the launch of SpaceX’s Crew-3, Rocket Lab plans to launch one of its rockets from New Zealand. The California-headquartered small satellite launcher will use its Electron rocket to place two second-generation BlackSky satellites into orbit. Electron’s launch will also sport a booster recovery. This will be Rocket Lab’s third recovery of an Electron booster and will be the first to have a helicopter nearby. While the booster will not be caught by the helicopter, instead, it will splashdown in the ocean. This is a step towards mid-air capture by a helicopter.

Date: Tuesday, November 16

Rocket: Rocket Lab Electron

Payload: 2x BlackSky Gen-2 satellites

Launch Pad: Launch Complex 1, Mahia, New Zealand

Landing Site: Electron’s first stage will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean under the power of a parachute.

About Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket is a smallsat dedicated launcher standing about 18 meters tall. It first launched back in 2017 and has since launched a total of 21 times, 18 of which have been successful. The rocket design is made up of two stages with an optional kickstage. The first stage uses nine electric pump-fed Rutherford engines. While the second stage uses a single vacuum optimized Rutherford. The unique part of the Electron rocket is its use of electric pumps for its engines, allowing the rocket to use all of its fuel for sending the payload into orbit rather than using part of it to power a generator.

Where to watch Rocket Lab’s ‘Love At First Insight’ mission?

Rocket Lab will be live streaming its launch of “Love At First Insight” on their website as well as the Rocket Lab YouTube channel. Expect a well-run show. Since the beginning Rocket Lab has been giving the public well-produced coverage of their missions. Rocket Lab will start the stream at T-20 minutes, which will be at 11:05 p.m. EST.

Rocket Lab launch updates

Come back on launch day for live updates on Rocket Lab’s “Love At First Insight” launch.

‘Love At First Insight’ launch date changes

  • Launched delayed from November 10 to November 16 due to an “out of family ground sensor read out” and more time for “helicopter recovery preparations.”

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