Rocket Lab, everyone’s favorite US / New Zealand-based smallsat launcher, announced the first launch of its Electron rocket for the year, and yes, it’s going to be BlackSky satellites.
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
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.
It’s a tough day for the folks at Rocket Lab. After a successful liftoff from New Zealand, the California rocket company experienced another failure of its Electron second stage. This sadly means that the payload, two BlackSky satellites, were lost during the mission.
On the success of Rocket Lab’s most recent mission “They Go Up So Fast” the California-based launch provider announced that it will launch more global monitoring satellites for BlackSky. This is the biggest number of satellites the company has committed to launching to a single provider so far.
Update on July 11: “Standing down from today’s launch of the tenth Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts; team is working to identify the next launch opportunity. Will announce a new target date once confirmed with the Range,” SpaceX announced.
SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday at 10:54 a.m. EDT. SpaceX is sending its tenth batch of Starlink satellites to space. These satellites will be used for a new global broadband service that will focus on bringing internet connectivity to underserved areas.
The rocket launch is also a ridesharing mission that will include two BlackSky satellites. Today’s mission will mark the second ridesharing mission for SpaceX Starlink launches.
Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt to land 8 minutes 24 seconds after liftoff. The 59 satellite payload will be deployed in space shortly after 1 hour from liftoff.
Watch the launch, landing, and deployment below.