Rocket Lab prepares for fifth 2019 launch mission

Stephen Kuper

Rocket Lab, a New Zealand-based launch company, has confirmed its fifth launch mission for 2019 and ninth Electron mission, with a dedicated launch for CubeSat company Astro Digital.

Rocket Lab prepares for fifth 2019 launch mission
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 The dedicated mission is scheduled to take place during a 14-day launch window opening on October 15 NZDT (14 October UTC).

The mission will lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula. Encapsulated in Electron’s fairing will be a single spacecraft for Astro Digital, a California-based satellite manufacturer and operator.

The mission is named ‘As The Crow Flies’ in a nod to Astro Digital’s Corvus Platform, which provides flexible and cost-effective solutions across a wide range of applications and mission profiles on bus variants ranging from 6U and 16U CubeSats to ESPA Class.

Corvus is also a widely-distributed genus of birds that includes crows.

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Rocket Lab’s senior vice president – global launch services, Lars Hoffman, said the mission is a perfect example of the tailored, responsive and precise launch service sought by an increasing number of small satellite operators.

“We are honoured Astro Digital has selected Rocket Lab as the launch provider for their dedicated mission. The Electron launch vehicle, with its unique Kick Stage, is perfectly positioned to provide the kind of tailored, rapid and responsive access to space that rideshare models simply can’t deliver,” Hoffman said.

‘As The Crow Flies’ has been moved forward in Rocket Lab’s 2019 launch manifest, after a customer originally slated for launch in the coming weeks requested a later launch date.

Hoffman added, “With Electron and our own launch sites, Rocket Lab is uniquely placed to give small satellite operators complete control over their own launch schedule and orbital requirements.”

By manufacturing standard Electron launch vehicles, rather than rockets tailored to specific missions, Rocket Lab can facilitate rapid manifest changes that support the responsive needs of small satellite operators.

Rocket Lab augments this flexibility by operating the world’s only private orbital launch range, providing small satellite customers with unmatched launch schedule control.

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