Argos-4 Environmental, Wildlife Tracking Instrument Poised for Fall Launch

An artist’s rendering of the General Atomics GAzelle satellite, carrying the Argos-4 instrument. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA and CNES, the French space agency, are just two months away from the planned launch of Argos-4, an advanced satellite instrument that will track the movement of wildlife, particularly marine mammals and sea turtles, while also collecting critical environmental data around the world. 

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SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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77 Launches Conducted During First Half of 2022 as Access to Orbit Expanded

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites while the Dragon that will carry Crew-4 to the International space Station awaits its turn. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.

A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

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Rocket Lab Successfully Launches First of Two Responsive Space Missions for the National Reconnaissance Office

Lift-off of the NROL-162 national security mission for the National Reconnaissance Office on Electron from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1. (Photo: Business Wire)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab USA PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, has successfully launched the first of two responsive space missions for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

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Rocket Lab Introduces Responsive Space Program

The program will on-ramp customers by creating tailored responsive launch and satellite development solutions, granting them access to Rocket Lab’s rapid, 24-hour call up launch service and rapid satellite build capability

All black rocket on pad with the words “Electron” in white vertically down the rocket with blue skies and wispy clouds in the background. (Credits: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab USA, Inc. PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, has today announced it is introducing a Responsive Space Program designed to on-ramp commercial and government satellite operators to the Company’s 24/7 rapid call-up launch capability and streamlined satellite build and operation options.

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CAPSTONE Satellite, Designed and Built by Terran Orbital, Successfully Deploys from Rocket Lab Lunar Photon into Lunar Transfer Orbit

CAPSTONE approaches Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (Image Credit: Terran Orbital Corporation)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) — Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, today announced the successful deployment of the CAPSTONE spacecraft from a Rocket Lab Lunar Photon into a Lunar Transfer Orbit. Terran Orbital designed, built, and integrated Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, otherwise known as CAPSTONE, and is flying a pathfinding mission to the moon in support of NASA’s historic Artemis program. With deployment complete, Terran Orbital will now commence the satellite’s mission operations. CAPSTONE is owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA.

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Five Launches Scheduled to Close Out June

Electron launches on May 3, 2022. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Here are the launches scheduled for the rest of June.

Tuesday, June 28

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Payload: CAPSTONE
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Launch Time: 5:55 a.m. EDT (09:55 UTC)
Webcast: www.nasa.gov beginning at 5 a.m. EDT (09:00 UTC)

Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) lunar orbiter. The spacecraft will enter a near rectilinear halo orbit on Nov. 13 in order to test technologies for NASA’s lunar Gateway space station that will use that orbit.

Wednesday, June 29

Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
Payload: SES 22 communications satellite
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.
Launch window: 5:04-7:13 p.m. EDT (21:04-23:13 UTC)
Webcast: www.spacex.com beginning 10 minutes before launch

Thursday, June 30

Launch Vehicle: Virgin Orbit LauncherOne
Payload: STP-28A — 7 small spacecraft
Launch Site: Cosmic Girl (Boeing 747), Mojave Air and Space Port, Calif.
Launch Window: 1:00-5:00 a.m. EDT (10 p.m.-1 a.m. PDT on June 29/30 — 0500-0900 UTC)
Webcast: www.virginorbit.com

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 will drop the LauncherOne rocket off the coast of California on a mission funded by Department of Defense’s Space Test Program.

Launch Vehicle: PSLV
Payload: DS-EO Earth observation satellite
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, India
Launch Time: 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 UTC)
Webcast: www.isro.gov.in

Launch Vehicle: ULA Atlas V
Payload: USSF 12 missile warning satellite
Launch Site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.
Launch Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m. EDT (2200-0000 UTC)
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com

Rocket Lab Prepares to Launch CAPSTONE Mission to the Moon for NASA

Rocket Lab will launch a microwave oven-sized CubeSat dubbed CAPSTONE to a never-before-flown orbit around the Moon, blazing a new efficient deep space route that NASA hopes to use for future human spaceflight missions

Electron Launch Vehicle at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 for the NASA CAPSTONE lunar mission. (Image Credit: Business Wire)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab USA, Inc. PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, is preparing to launch a satellite to the Moon for NASA as early as June 27th.

The launch will take place from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The launch window opens 09:50 UTC on June 27th (21:50 NZST, June 27th). Back-up opportunities are available through July 27th to accommodate potential weather or technical delays to the launch.

Designed and built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, a Terran Orbital Corporation, and owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat will be the first spacecraft to test the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) around the Moon. Researchers expect this orbit to be a gravitational sweet spot in space – where the pull of gravity from Earth and the Moon interact to allow for a nearly-stable orbit – allowing physics to do most of the work of keeping a spacecraft in orbit around the Moon. NASA has big plans for this unique type of orbit. The agency hopes to park bigger spacecraft – including the lunar-orbiting space station Gateway – in an NRHO around the Moon, providing astronauts with a base from which to descend to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program.

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Rocket Lab Reports Increased Revenue From Space Systems, $26.7 Million First Quarter Net Loss

Electron launches on May 3, 2022. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Rocket Lab reported a $26.7 million first quarter loss on revenues of $40.7 million, with space systems such as satellites producing the majority of revenues rather than the launches for which the company is best known. Adjusted EBITDA loss for the quarter was $7.98 million.

Rocket Lab earned $34.1 million in revenues from space systems. That amount represented 84% of first quarter revenues, an increase of 1,873 percent from the first quarter of 2021.

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Terran Orbital Ships CAPSTONE Satellite to New Zealand to Prepare for Integration into Rocket Lab Launch Vehicle

CAPSTONE satellite (Credit: Terran Orbital)

Designed and built by Terran Orbital, CAPSTONE will support NASA’s Artemis program in reducing the risk for future Lunar bound spacecraft while propelling space exploration for all humankind

IRVINE, Calif., May 10, 2022 (Terran Orbital PR) – Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States aerospace and defense industry, today announced it has shipped its CAPSTONE satellite to a launch site on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand. CAPSTONE will launch on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket using a Lunar Photon satellite upper stage to send the spacecraft on its planned lunar transfer trajectory. This historic pathfinding mission supports NASA’s Artemis program which includes landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.

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Rocket Lab Successfully Deploys 34 Satellites and Catches Rocket Booster Returning from Space with Helicopter

Electron launches on May 3, 2022. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 2, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, has successfully launched its 26th Electron mission, deploying 34 satellites to orbit. Rocket Lab has now deployed a total of 146 satellites to orbit with the Electron launch vehicle.

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Rocket Lab Secures Multi-Launch Contract with HawkEye 360, Confirms First Launch Planned from Virginia

Electron rocket lifts off on Jan. 31, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has been selected by Virginia-based HawkEye 360 to launch three Electron missions for the radio frequency geospatial analytics provider. The first of the three missions is scheduled to be Rocket Lab’s inaugural Electron mission from Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island, Virginia, ushering in an era of Rocket Lab launches from U.S. soil from no earlier than December 2022.

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Rocket Lab to Attempt First Mid-Air Helicopter Capture of the Electron Rocket During Next Mission

Rocket Lab’s Sikorsky S-92 helicopter arrives in preparation for first Electron mid-air capture attempt (Credit: Business Wire)

For the first time, Rocket Lab will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of an Electron rocket as it returns to Earth from space, furthering the company’s program to make Electron the first reusable orbital small launch vehicle

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab”), a leading launch and space systems company, has announced today that during its next Electron launch, a commercial rideshare mission currently scheduled in April 2022, the company will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of the Electron launch vehicle for the first time.

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