Seven small satellites are slated to be blasted into orbit as early as this afternoon aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. This is the Long Beach-based company’s second launch of the year.
The mission, dubbed “They Go Up So Fast,” will embark from the small-sat launch service provider’s complex on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula carrying payloads from various government organizations, commercial operators, academic institutions and startups.
The operation window for the launch begins today at 3:20 p.m. PT. The company has one hour and 10 minute blocks set for launch each day through March 30. Launches always have backup launch times should they need to stand down for any reason such as inclement weather or technical issues, according to company spokesperson Morgan Bailey.
The payload includes:
- A BlackSky Earth-observation microsatellite procured by Spaceflight Inc. to capture high-resolution images of the planet;
- A Fleet Space Centauri 3 procured by Tyvak as part of a 140-satellite constellation in low-Earth orbit;
- A Myriota 7 procured by Tyvak, also in support of the low-orbit constellation;
- A 1U CubeSat from Care Weather Technologies as part of a constellation used to produce hourly maps of global wind speed and direction over the surface of the ocean;
- An M2 Pathfinder 3U CubeSat from the University of New South Wales’s Canberra Space, in collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force, for Earth observation, maritime surveillance and more;
- A GunSmake-J 3U CubeSat from the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command procured by TriSept;
- And Rocket Lab’s own Photon Pathstone.
The satellites will be deployed at 450 and 550 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.
“This mission is a particularly exciting one for our team,” CEO Peter Beck said in an email. “It will tip us past 100 satellites deployed for our customers since our first orbital launch in 2018, and it will also see us deploy our second Photon spacecraft to orbit in a tech demonstration ahead of our CAPSTONE mission to the moon for NASA.”
If the mission is successful, Rocket Lab would have sent a total of 104 satellites into orbit across 19 Electron launches.