Rocket Lab to Launch 4 Satellites in Look Ma, No Hands Mission

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab’s eighth mission will lift-off in August from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying a total of four satellites aboard an Electron launch vehicle.

The mission is manifested with satellites destined to begin a new constellation for UNSEENLABS, as well as more rideshare payloads for Spaceflight, consisting of a spacecraft for BlackSky and the United States Air Force Space Command.

The first launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, Aug. 16 at 12:57 UTC (8:57 EDT). The launch window is open until Aug. 30.

The mission is manifested with a CubeSat that will form the cornerstone of a new maritime surveillance constellation for French company UNSEENLABS. The constellation aims to deliver precise, reliable, and secure maritime data, enabling organizations to monitor their own vessels and observe those that present risks, such as pirates and illegal vessels.

Mission management and rideshare aggregator, Spaceflight, also manifested three satellites on its second rideshare mission with Rocket Lab. Among the rideshare payloads is BlackSky’s Global-4 Earth-imaging satellite. The satellite will join BlackSky Global-3, which was launched to low Earth orbit on an Electron vehicle in June 2019.

BlackSky’s constellation delivers rapid-revisit satellite imagery to assist with monitoring economic activity such as crop development and herd migration, or surveying damage following natural disasters.

The final spacecraft manifested on the mission are two experimental satellites for the United States Air Force Space Command, designed to test new technologies including propulsion, power, communications, and drag capabilities for potential applications on future spacecraft.

Watch the live launch webcast: www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream.
For information on launch day visit https://www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/ and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

EVENT
-06:00:00 Road to the launch site closed
-04:00:00 Electron lifted to vertical position and filled with fuel
-02:30:00 Launch pad personnel exit area in preparation for launch
-02:00:00 Electron filled with liquid oxygen (LOx)
-02:00:00 Safety zones are activated for designated marine space
-00:30:00 Safety zones are activated for designated airspace
-00:18:00 The Launch Director conducts a go/no-go poll of launch operators to confirm Electron is ready for launch
-00:02:00 Autosequence commences and Electron’s on-board computers initiate the launch sequence
-00:00:02 Ignition of the nine Rutherford engines powering Electron’s first stage
00:00:00 Lift-off – Electron climbs from the launch pad – initially rising slowly and increasing in speed as the Electron gets lighter
+00:02:35 Main engines (Stage 1) cut off
+00:02:38 Stage 1 of Electron separates
+00:02:42 The vacuum Rutherford engine on Stage 2 ignites
+00:03:40 The Electron’s fairing separates
+00:06:31 Electron reaches orbit
+00:08:55 Stage 2 engine cuts off
+00:08:59 Stage 2 of Electron separates
+00:50:21 Kick Stage ignites
+00:51:48 Curie engine powering Kick Stage cuts off
+00:53:30 Payloads separated from launch vehicle

About Launch Complex-1

Electron is launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, the world’s
only private orbital launch range. Located in Māhia, New Zealand,
and licensed to launch up to 120 times per year, Rocket Lab can
accommodate an unprecedented launch cadence and reach orbital
inclinations from sun-synchronous through to 39 degrees from a single
site.

Rocket Lab is also developing a second launch site to provide
unmatched schedule and launch location freedom. Launch Complex 2
is being built at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Flight
Facility, Virginia, USA.