Rocketlab Launch Upcoming

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

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.)

Live video should be here:

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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]
The Rocketlab Electron just went and appears to have been a success.

Watch short video clips of the launch and stage separation here

(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.

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