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.
This week, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck shared his thoughts on reusable rockets and shared a new shiny Electron design during a press conference.
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.
After a failure in the second stage during their “Running Out Of Toes” mission earlier this year. Rocket Lab is planning to return with a now improved system this week. The mission will carry a test satellite for the United States Space Force to evaluate new sensor technology. In tradition with Rocket Lab’s fun naming style, this launch will be named “It’s A Little Chile Up Here”. This is in honor of the green chile of New Mexico where the Space Force’s Space Test Program is based.
Date: Thursday, July 29th at 4:00 a.m. EDT (2-hour window)
In May of this year, Rocket Lab attempted to launch their 20th mission to space. The mission ended with failure of the Electron’s upper stage, but now they are ready to move on to their next flight.
Rocket Lab is continuing progress on their latest launch pad located at their New Zealand facility, LC-1B, with the installation of the strongback. The Electron launch vehicle has been grounded since an in-flight failure of the second stage engine. The anomaly investigation is still underway, but the FAA has cleared Electron for flight.
Late last week, Rocket Lab launched its 20th Electron mission and their second Electron to be recovered. While the mission failed during the second stage burn, the first stage’s secondary mission seems successful.
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.
Late last year Rocket Lab attempted its first recovery of an Electron rocket. Under the power of parachutes, the “Return to Sender” booster splashed down off the coast of New Zealand. While this booster didn’t return in a perfect reusable state, their next booster might fair better.
Rocket Lab is preparing for the 19th Mission of their Electron later today, at 6:30 pm Eastern time. This rideshare launch, “They Go Up So Fast”, will deliver 7 satellites into orbit for customers including BlackSky, the University of New South Wales, and the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense command.
Shortly after Rocket Lab successfully launched its “Return to Sender” mission last week, the company shared today that it had successfully recovered the booster. This is the first time in Rocket Lab’s history that it has recovered a flight proven rocket booster. Rocket Lab joins the ranks of SpaceX in executing booster recovery with intent to re-fly.
Rocket Lab’s latest video from space is only 32-seconds long, but you may want to set aside several minutes to roll the tape a few hundred times. It’s that good. The launch company shared the first-ever look at booster stage separation of its Electron rocket from space. Visually and sonically, you have to experience this for yourself.
Rocket Lab has announced that its next Electron launch will take place on December 12 at 5:09 a.m. EST. The mission, named “The Owl’s Night Begins,” will mark Rocket Lab’s 17th overall mission.
Rocket Lab’s 16th Electron mission will be a must-watch event when the small-sat launcher lifts off later this month. Gabe Newell, co-founder of game development company Valve, is donating $1 to charity for every viewer who watches the launch stream. What’s the Valve connection? Rocket Lab can explain:
California-based launch company Rocket Lab experienced an unexpected loss of vehicle in space after a successful liftoff from New Zealand in July. The development halted Rocket Lab’s increasingly steady cadence of sending customer payloads to space, but a quick discovery of the issue at fault minimized the launch provider’s time grounded.
Later this week, Rocket Lab will attempt its 14th Electron rocket mission from Launch Complex 1 at the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The mission called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical!’ will deploy a satellite called Sequoia for Capella Space.
Rocket Lab ended its streak of 11 successful Electron rocket launches in a row on Saturday, July 4. The 13th flight of Electron resulted in a loss of vehicle about 10 minutes after what appeared to be a successful launch.
Updates June 10-June 12:
Rocket Lab plans to launch payloads into space for three customers including NASA this week from its launch site in New Zealand. The small satellite launch service provider will use its Electron rocket to deploy satellites in Earth orbit on a mission called “Don’t Stop Me Now” as soon as Thursday, June 11.