It's business time for Rocket Lab

June 22, 2018

 Tonight at 10:27pm EDT, Rocket Lab's Electron rocket is launching from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand carrying 3 satellites as well as 2 more small satellites into an elliptical orbit. The satellites will be brought up to 500km and then circularized by Rocket Lab's Curie engine powered kick stage, completing the mission. The launch of Electron was originally scheduled for between April 20th through May 3rd, but was delayed due to unusual behavior with a motor controller during a wet dress rehearsal.

 

The main mission is the deployment of Two lemur-2 satellites from Spire Global and a GeoOptics Inc satellite built by Tyvak nano-Satellite Systems. The secondary payloads are the IRVINE01 and NABEO satellites.

 

IRVINE01 is a small satellite made by a group of about 150 students with the main goal of building a nanosat and having it launched into orbit. It has a low-resolution camera on-board to photograph Venus, the stars, and other celestial objects to calculate the distances between stars for accurate satellite navigation and stability.

 

NABEO is a demonstration mission with a drag-sail system to show how small, inactive satellites can be passively de-orbited. The sail will unfold and create more drag on the satellite to allow it to de-orbit much quicker into Earth's atmosphere. 

 

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