Rocket Lab is one step closer to successfully introducing reusable launch vehicles after the lift-off of the ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ mission, which included a range of payloads and technology demonstrators.
The successful launch saw the first satellite in a new maritime surveillance constellation for UNSEENLABS. The launch also saw satellites deployed for rideshare provider Spaceflight, including the BlackSky Global-4 satellite and two US Air Force technology demonstrators.
At approximately 54 minutes after lift-off, all payloads were successfully deployed by Electron’s Kick Stage to a 540 x 540-kilometre orbit at a 45-degree inclination. The mission was Rocket Lab’s eighth launch overall and the company’s fourth launch for 2019, taking the total number of satellites deployed by the company to 39. The launch also continues Rocket Lab’s record of 100 per cent mission success for customers.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck welcomed the news of the successful launch, saying, "Thank you to our dedicated team for another flawless launch, and to our mission partners for entrusting Rocket Lab with the continued expansion of their constellations. Every mission is a privilege, but it was an especially proud moment for our team to launch another BlackSky Global satellite for Spaceflight just weeks after putting the last one in orbit."
The launch vehicle also carried critical instrumentation to inform development efforts for Rocket Lab’s recently announced plans to recover and re-use Electron’s first stage.
"This mission was also another exciting step towards our plans to recover and reuse Electron’s first stage in future missions. The team is eagerly analysing the data as we work towards reusability," Beck added.
Rocket Lab’s next mission is yet to be announced but is scheduled for lift-off from Launch Complex 1 in the coming weeks.
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