ELECTRON of Rocket Lab lifted off its launch pad on June 29 at 04:30 GMT from New Zealand launching seven satellites into space. Rocket Lab is a private American company that launches and manufactures small satellites. The launch was delayed by a day or two, initially scheduled for June 27 or 28. Every day between June 27 and July 10, Rocket Lab had two-hour window to get the vehicle going.
Initially conceived in 2013, Electron’s seventh launch all-in-all and the third of this year took place from Launch Complex 1 in Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, which is expected to get very busy in the upcoming days; Rocket Lab being one of the engagers of the site as it has been quoted so: Rocket Lab’s next mission is yet to be announced, but is scheduled for lift-off from Launch Complex 1 in the coming weeks. Rocket Lab’s manifest is booked with monthly launches for the remainder of 2019, scaling to a launch every two weeks in 2020.
After the liftoff of Electron and separation of the rocket as the first stage, the Kick Stage ignited carrying the payloads into the elliptical orbit, 56 minutes after the liftoff. Once the payload delivery was accomplished, the Kick Stage fell back to Earth and was burnt in its atmosphere. The “Kick Stage” is designed to bring satellites very precisely to orbits, then de-orbit without littering the space with its parts. Rocket Lab is quoted so, while deliberating on the precision of Electron’s deliveries: “We’ve designed Electron to be built and launched with unprecedented frequency, while providing the smoothest ride and most precise deployment to orbit.”
The payloads on this launch included two Prometheus nano-satellites for US Special Operations Command, the BlackSky Global 3 commercial Earth observation satellite, two SpaceBEE data relay satellites of Swarm Technologies, ACRUX-1 – a technology demonstration CubeSat for Australia’s Melbourne Space Program, along with an unidentified satellite.
This mission was on behalf of Spaceflight Industries, a Seattle-based commercial company; which explains the nickname “Make It Rain”. The company has a goal for making space more accessible, working on these lines it is known for making bookings and managing low-cost satellite launches and ride shares for private companies, non-profit organizations and governments.
ACRUX-1 was designed and built by engineering students, with the support of regulatory and business teams as well as professional development and marketing teams.
The Melbourne Space Program is a not-for-profit education organisation run entirely by volunteers – students from universities across Melbourne with a vision to launch the next generation of technology pioneers.
About Rocket Lab
Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, while lauding the efforts of all the teams behind this launch said, “Congratulations to the dedicated teams behind the payloads on this mission, and also to our team for another flawless Electron launch. It’s a privilege to provide tailored and reliable access to space for small satellites like these, giving each one a smooth ride to orbit and precise deployment, even in a rideshare arrangement.”