Rocket Lab Delays Electron Launch Due to Stormy Weather

“As the Crow Flies”

Booster: Electron
Payload: Palisade 16U CubeSat for Astro Digital
Location: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, NZ
Launch Period: 15 October – 28 October 2019 NZDT (14 October – 28 October 2019 UTC)
Launch Window: Daily from 12:00 – 16:00 NZDT (23:00 – 03:00 UTC/7 – 11 pm EDT)
Live launch webcast: www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream (begins 15 – 20 minutes prior to launch)
Launch Day Updates: www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/ and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab

An Overview of Rocket Lab’s Next Launch

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

“As the Crow Flies”

Booster: Electron
Payload: Palisade 16U CubeSat for Astro Digital
Location: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, NZ
Launch Period: 15 October – 28 October 2019 NZDT (14 October – 28 October 2019 UTC)
Launch Window: Daily from 12:00 – 16:00 NZDT (23:00 – 03:00 UTC/7 – 11 pm EDT)
Live launch webcast: www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream (begins 15 – 20 minutes prior to launch)
Launch Day Updates: www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/ and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab

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USAF Selects 8 Companies to Compete for Launch Contracts

The U.S. Air Force has selected eight companies to compete for $986 worth of launch contracts under its Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) program. The companies include:

  • Aevum Inc., Huntsville, Ala.;
  • Firefly Black LLC, Cedar Park, Texas;
  • Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Chandler, Ariz.;
  • Rocket Lab USA Inc., Huntington Beach, Calif.;
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, Calif.;
  • United Launch Alliance, Centennial, Colo.;
  • VOX Space LLC., El Segundo, Calif.;
  • Xbow Launch Systems Inc., Auburn, Calif.;

“The contract seeks to capitalize on the emerging small launch providers while providing dedicated and primary launch services to the Department of Defense and other government agencies,” the U.S. Air Force said in announcing the selections.

“The program allows for the rapid acquisition of launch services to meet mission requirements for payloads greater than 400 pounds, enabling launch to any orbit within 12-24 months from task order award,” the announcement added.

The eight companies will be competitive for indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contracts under OSP-4.

China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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GomSpace, UnseenLabs Commission BRO-1 in Record Time

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 30, 2019 (GomSpace PR) — GomSpace has successfully delivered and commissioned the satellite bus for UnseenLabs BRO-1, launched from New Zealand by Rocket Lab on August 19, 2019.

The launch and early operations phase was successfully completed in only a few days, and the spacecraft is ready to commence operation for UnseenLabs.

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Rocket Lab Launch Reset for Tuesday New Zealand Time

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

After a scrub due to high winds, Rocket Lab has rescheduled its latest Electron Look Ma, No Hands launch for no earlier than Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 12:12 am NZST (12:12 UTC/8:12 am EDT).

Rocket Lab’s eighth mission will carry four satellites, including: a Cubesat for French maritime surveillance company UNSEENLABS ; BlackSky’s Global-4 Earth-imaging satellite; and two U.S. Air Force Space Command experimental satellites designed to test new propulsion, power, communications, and drag technologies.

Rocket Lab will webcast the launch at www.rocketlabusa.com.

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.

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Rocket Lab Scholarship Applications Now Open

Electron lifts off with DARPA’s R3D2 satellite. (Credits: Kieran Fanning, Sam Tom)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Hawke’s Bay students interested in becoming innovators, scientists, and engineers, are being offered the opportunity to pursue STEM education thanks to Rocket Lab’s 2019 tertiary scholarship.

Applications are now open for the annual Rocket Lab Scholarship, which offers $20,000 across four years of study one outstanding undergraduate student each year. The scholarship also provides students with hands-on mentorship towards the end of their degree from leading space and engineering experts at Rocket Lab.

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USAF’s Pearl White Cubesats Mission Set to Launch Aboard Rocket Lab Electron Booster

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

MAHIA, New Zealand — Pearl White, an Air Force Space Command demonstration program, is set to launch no earlier than August 16th as part of a rideshare aboard a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle in summer 2019.  The launch will take place at the Rocket Lab Launch Complex-1 near Mahia, New Zealand.

The program goal is to design, develop, launch and operate two 6U cubesat experimental spacecraft as an on-orbit testbed for emerging technologies in 2019. 

The demonstration will test new technologies including propulsion, power, communications, and drag capabilities for potential applications on future spacecraft. The spacecraft will be placed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with a notional altitude of ~540 km and an inclination of ~45 degrees.

The two cubesats were built by Tiger Innovations Inc., which is located in Herndon, Virginia, and are designed for a one-year lifetime.  Tiger Innovations Inc. will operate the spacecraft for the life of the program under the direction and oversight of AFSPC.

Rocket Lab Announces Reusability Plans For Electron Rocket

Electron rocket descending (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., August 6, 2019 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has revealed plans to recover and re-fly the first stage of its Electron launch vehicle. The move aims to enable Rocket Lab to further increase launch frequency by eliminating the need to build a new first stage for every mission.

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Rocket Lab Seeks Changes at Mahia Peninsula for Second Launch Pad

Electron rocket on the launch pad. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab has applied to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for approval for some changes related to a planned second launch pad at its spaceport on Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand, The Gisborne Herald reports.

Rocket Lab communications manager Morgan Bailey said the application referred to an amendment to Rocket Lab’s existing resource consent for Launch Complex 1, which allows for up to three launch pads on the same site.

“While we don’t need this many pads at the moment, we are looking at what resource and environmental standards Rocket Lab will need to have in place for a potential second pad in the future,” said Ms Bailey.

“The amendment addresses how Rocket Lab would deal with rain that falls on an additional pad. As for how that water is managed, Rocket Lab was founded on the principle of using space to better understand and protect our environment. This means committing to carefully managing and protecting the environment at the launch site too.

“The rainwater at the launch site is captured for reuse and does not flow into the sea. Any wastewater from bathrooms or grey water is also transported away from the site by a professional service that disposes of it correctly.”

Rocket Lab is also constructing a launch pad on Wallops Island in Virginia for flights of its Electron small satellite booster.

Rocket Lab’s August Mission Focused On Building Constellations And Enabling R&D

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

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today announced its next launch is a mission carrying 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 mission – named ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ – will lift-off in August from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying a total of four satellites aboard an Electron launch vehicle.

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