‘MAKE IT RAIN’

Rocket Lab to launch again next month.

Rocket Lab to launch again next month.

THE ONLY WAY IS UP: Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket heads into space at its most recent launch from the Mahia site. Picture by Rocket Lab

Hot on the heels of a spectacular night launch earlier this month, the Rocket Lab rocket launch site in Mahia will be back in action in June.

The United States-based satellite launch company will put payloads from several organisations into space on a mission procured by satellite rideshare and mission management provider Spaceflight.

That will include a communications satellite being used by US special forces.

The mission is Rocket Lab’s seventh Electron launch and the company’s third for 2019, continuing Rocket Lab’s average monthly launch cadence.

The flight follows dedicated missions launched for DARPA and the US Air Force’s Space Test Program in the first months of 2019.

The mission is named Make it Rain in a nod to the high volume of rainfall in Seattle, where Spaceflight is headquartered, as well in New Zealand where Launch Complex 1 is located.

Among the satellites on the mission for Spaceflight are BlackSky’s Global-4, two of the US Special Operations Command’s Prometheus and Melbourne Space Program’s ACRUX-1.

The Prometheus CubeSats are part of a technology development and demonstration effort to explore the viability of using a CubeSat constellation to meet existing special operations mission requirements.

Rocket Lab Founder and chief executive Peter Beck said rideshares had historically presented a challenge for small satellite operators, as they were often at the mercy of the primary payload’s schedule and orbit.

“This exciting mission with Spaceflight demonstrates the new level of freedom now offered to small satellite operators thanks to Electron.

“Rocket Lab puts small satellite operators in charge, offering an unmatched level of control over launch schedule. Thanks to Electron’s Kick Stage, we also deliver the kind of precision orbital deployment normally reserved for a prime.”

The spacecraft manifested on the mission will be delivered to precise, individual orbits by Electron’s Kick Stage. Powered by the 3D-printed Curie engine, the Kick Stage carries the payloads to a circular orbit before employing a cold gas reaction control system to orient itself for precise deployment of each satellite at predefined intervals.

“This removes the risk of spacecraft recontact during deployment and ensures each spacecraft is deployed to the ideal orbit.

“As the world’s leading small satellite launch provider, Rocket Lab has been delivering small satellites to orbit since January 2018.

“The company has launched 28 satellites on Electron for a range of government and commercial mission partners, including NASA, the US Air Force Space Test Program and DARPA.

Rocket Lab’s 2019 manifest is fully booked with monthly launches, scaling to a launch every two weeks by the end of the year.

“The first launch from the company’s second launch site, Launch Complex 2, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, will also take place later this year.”

Hot on the heels of a spectacular night launch earlier this month, the Rocket Lab rocket launch site in Mahia will be back in action in June.

The United States-based satellite launch company will put payloads from several organisations into space on a mission procured by satellite rideshare and mission management provider Spaceflight.

That will include a communications satellite being used by US special forces.

The mission is Rocket Lab’s seventh Electron launch and the company’s third for 2019, continuing Rocket Lab’s average monthly launch cadence.

The flight follows dedicated missions launched for DARPA and the US Air Force’s Space Test Program in the first months of 2019.

The mission is named Make it Rain in a nod to the high volume of rainfall in Seattle, where Spaceflight is headquartered, as well in New Zealand where Launch Complex 1 is located.

Among the satellites on the mission for Spaceflight are BlackSky’s Global-4, two of the US Special Operations Command’s Prometheus and Melbourne Space Program’s ACRUX-1.

The Prometheus CubeSats are part of a technology development and demonstration effort to explore the viability of using a CubeSat constellation to meet existing special operations mission requirements.

Rocket Lab Founder and chief executive Peter Beck said rideshares had historically presented a challenge for small satellite operators, as they were often at the mercy of the primary payload’s schedule and orbit.

“This exciting mission with Spaceflight demonstrates the new level of freedom now offered to small satellite operators thanks to Electron.

“Rocket Lab puts small satellite operators in charge, offering an unmatched level of control over launch schedule. Thanks to Electron’s Kick Stage, we also deliver the kind of precision orbital deployment normally reserved for a prime.”

The spacecraft manifested on the mission will be delivered to precise, individual orbits by Electron’s Kick Stage. Powered by the 3D-printed Curie engine, the Kick Stage carries the payloads to a circular orbit before employing a cold gas reaction control system to orient itself for precise deployment of each satellite at predefined intervals.

“This removes the risk of spacecraft recontact during deployment and ensures each spacecraft is deployed to the ideal orbit.

“As the world’s leading small satellite launch provider, Rocket Lab has been delivering small satellites to orbit since January 2018.

“The company has launched 28 satellites on Electron for a range of government and commercial mission partners, including NASA, the US Air Force Space Test Program and DARPA.

Rocket Lab’s 2019 manifest is fully booked with monthly launches, scaling to a launch every two weeks by the end of the year.

“The first launch from the company’s second launch site, Launch Complex 2, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, will also take place later this year.”

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Roger Morris, Taranaki - 3 months ago
Virginia, where press freedom is about to face the death penalty. Maybe those satellites will help USAMO nuke Iran or drone-strike a wedding party in Yemen.
Does it have a little Kiwi logo on it?