Rocketlab Launch Upcoming

#1
Rocketlab is planning to launch their Electron rocket from the Mahia peninsula on New Zealand's North Island

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/

Tentatively scheduled for NET (no earlier than) 04:30 UTC (16:30 NZST, 12:30 AM EDT Saturday June 29, 9:30 PM PDT Friday June 28.)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2019/06/...e-mission/

Live video should be here:

www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream

Payloads appear to be six satellites, one micro-satellite and five pico-sats. Classification of small satellites by mass here.

The biggest is BlackSky's Global 3, the third in a series of small earth observation satellites. It carries a little 24 cm reflecting telescope that will be trained on Earth and not out into space. It should be able to resolve objects as small as one meter on Earth. So it will be able to see houses and cars, but probably not people.

https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/blacksky-global.htm

Two are little Prometheus-2 satellites, tiny 1-U (4" by 4" by 4") cubesats built by Los Alamos National Laboratory for the US Special Operations Command. The idea is to evaluate how useful tiny communications satellites that cost less than $10,000 might be in low earth orbits for audio/video/data transmissions between commanders in the US and Special Operators in remote locations with little man-portable earth stations. (Like small satellite phones, I guess.)

https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/prometheus-2.htm

Two more are basically the same idea except private, little 1-U cubesats called SpaceBEEs. These belong to something called Swarm Technologies and are intended as communications relays for things like scientific instruments in remote locations. I can imagine them being useful for things like weather buoys out in the middle of the Pacific and things like that.

https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/spacebee-5.htm

Finally there's another tiny 1-U cubesat called Acrux 1, designed and built by something called the Melbourne Space Program, mostly engineering students at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/acrux-1.htm

Here's the Electron rocket at Rocketlab's NZ launch complex (Rocketlab photo) The US flag is because Rocketlab is a US company and the rockets are manufactured in Huntington Beach California. But they launch from New Zealand. (The pad is on the Mahia Peninsula on the east side of North Island, while mission control is in Auckland.)


[Image: Make-It-Rain-arrives-at-LC1.jpg]


This is BlackSky Global 3 undergoing integration at the NZ launch complex (Rocketlab photo)


[Image: BlackSky-Global-3-integration.jpg]
Reply
Reply
#3
The Rocketlab Electron just went and appears to have been a success.

Watch short video clips of the launch and stage separation here

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...3795980288

(Jun 28, 2019 09:22 PM)C C Wrote: This provides links to a choice of map or satellite views of Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula. Doesn't look like there are any public roads and nearby communities in the immediate vicinity to pose problems.

It looks pretty isolated out there (Rocketlab photo)


[Image: DP7ER0UUMAA9bXI.jpg]


Here's a photo taken of the launch site Saturday afternoon NZ time from a very different angle (Rocketlab photo)


[Image: D-NCDG4UIAEBr5F.jpg]


Quote:Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 is on Wallops Island in Virginia.

They say that the Virginia launch site at Wallops Island should be ready by the end of the year. I guess that the big difference is that Wallops Island is already a major NASA launch facility and satellites (including space station supply capsules) are launched from there.

https://twitter.com/RocketLab/status/114...7996588034
Reply
#4
Rocketlab said that they were going to have a big announcement today. It was streamed live and you can watch the whole presentation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_conti...oONWIGtcdY

To make a long story short, after a bunch of very good videos of their rocket manufacturing and launching, and a report on their new Wallops Island launch pad (should be up and running by the end of the year), how they are trying to manufacture one Electron rocket per month, and news on their new satellite they are building to serve as a bus for customers' instruments and experiments (so that if a university of something wants to put up an experiment, they don't have to design an entire space vehicle to do it), they unveiled their big announcement:

They are going reusable. (Move over SpaceX.)

Animation of their concept for launching and recovering a booster (from the presentation above) here:

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...9242445826

They say that they can't land their rockets propulsively because that would require them upsizing their small launch vehicles to medium launch vehicles, which would mean moving into Falcon 9 territory which would kind of defeat their model of low cost launches using cheap small launchers. So they are trying to figure out how to get their rockets back without SpaceX-style retro-rocket burns. Their little artist's-conception video of them doing it showed them using a ballute. Then a helicopter snags the rocket out of their air as it's descending. Elon Musk earlier floated the idea of recovering Falcon 9 second stages from orbital velocity by having them trail giant "party balloons" as hypersonic decelerators, but nothing seems to have come of that. Well, Rocketlab is actually going to try it.

Their Electron #8 which is already on the NZ pad has a special data recorder that will collect engineering data. #10 will start to include upgrades intended for eventual recovery. And #"N" (they aren't sure quite when they will try it) will be an attempted booster recovery. They emphasize how hard an engineering challenge this is (they call it "the Wall", reentry temperatures can reach 1/2 the temperature of the Sun, mechanical loading is extreme and lots of energy has to be lost somehow).

Well, I love to see them trying to push the envelope.


[Image: 1575328.jpg]


Comment on NSF is noting that Falcon 9's all broke up without retro-rocket burns, and wondering how Rocketlab plans to orient the returning booster without things like cold-gas thrusters or grid-fins, all of which will cost weight and eat into the small Electron rocket's payload margin.
Reply
#5
(Aug 7, 2019 05:46 AM)Yazata Wrote: Well, I love to see them trying to push the envelope.

Comment on NSF is noting that Falcon 9's all broke up without retro-rocket burns, and wondering how Rocketlab plans to orient the returning booster without things like cold-gas thrusters or grid-fins, all of which will cost weight and eat into the small Electron rocket's payload margin.


Limited budget or limited size rocket may finally force the tree of innovation to bear fruit. SpaceX was once the "little guy" trying pull off new feats.
Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Starlink Launch Yazata 15 395 Yesterday 11:25 PM
Last Post: Yazata



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)