Rocket Lab will launch satellites for the US spysat office and NASA today
The June 11 launch endeavor was canceled because of high winds. This page will be updated with the date and time of the next opportunity once the data is accessible.
The little satellite launch organization Rocket Lab will hang a mini-fleet of payloads for NASA, a U.S. spy satellite office, and universities very early this Thursday (June 11) and you can watch it live online.
An Electron rocket will launch the mission, called “Don’t Stop Me Know” after a song by the rock band Queen, at 12:43 a.m. EDT (0443 GMT) from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand. The flight initially planned for March 30, has been deferred for more than two months because of terminations from the continuous COVID-19 pandemic.
You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of Rocket Launch, around 20 minutes before launch. Rocket Lab has an about two-hour launch window for the mission that closures at 2:32 a.m. EDT (0632 GMT), so the webcast could start whenever in that window.
“Electron stands poised on the pad tonight ready for flight tomorrow,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
“Don’t Stop Me Now” is a rideshare mission carrying numerous satellites into orbit for three different clients.
To begin with, there are three different payloads worked for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the organization liable for space-based observation of Earth. While subtleties are insufficient on precisely what those crafts will do in orbit, the mission the second NRO launch by Rocket Lab. (The first was the launch of NROL-151 in January.)
“This is the 2nd launch under NRO’s Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract vehicle, which enables our exploration of new launch opportunities for smallsats through a streamlined, commercial approach,” NRO officials wrote on Twitter. “Under this approach, RASR allows the NRO to have a path to greater launch resiliency and responsiveness. By leveraging commercial space launch capabilities where possible, the NRO can put space capabilities on orbit in a cost-effective manner.”
“Don’t Stop Me Now” will also launch ANDESITE (short for Ad-Hoc Network Demonstration for Extended Satellite-Based Inquiry and Other Team Endeavors) for NASA’s CubeSat Launch initiative. ANDESITE is a small satellite built by students at Boston University to study Earth’s magnetic field, according to a Rocket Lab description.
A third payload, the M2 Pathfinder satellite, will likewise ride to orbit on “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The mission is a collaboration between the University of New South Weals, Canberra Space, and the Australian government, as indicated by Rocket Lab.
“The satellite will demonstrate the ability of an onboard software-based radio to operate and reconfigure while in orbit,” Rocket Lab said of the M2 Pathfinder craft.
Unlike recent Rocket Lab flights, in which the organization tested new technologies for future Electron promoter recoveries after launch, no recuperation tests are anticipated this mission. Rocket Lab is wanting to start recuperating the first phase of its Electron promoters for possible reuse by catching them mid-air using a helicopter and parachutes.
The organization’s “Don’t Stop Me Know” mission is named to respect Rocket Lab board member Scott Smith, a devoted Queen fan who passed on in February, as per the New Zealand Herald. Queen’s song of a similar name was supposedly Smith’s top choice, the Herald expressed.