Rocket Lab successfully launches eighth Electron mission, takes next step in recovery and reuse for future flights
(20 August 2019 - Rocket Lab) A Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 12:12 am, 20 August 2019 NZST (12:12 pm, 19 August 2019 UTC).
The mission, named ‘Look Ma, No Hands,’ included 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 United States Air Force technology demonstrators.
(courtesy: Rocket Lab)
At approximately 54 minutes after lift-off, all payloads were successfully deployed by Electron’s Kick Stage to a 540 x 540 km 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 track record of 100% mission success for customers, further cementing the company’s status as the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch.
The launch vehicle also carried critical instrumentation to inform development efforts for Rocket Lab’s recently announced plans to recover and re-use of Electron’s first stage.
“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 as especially proud moment for our team to launch another BlackSky Global satellite for Spaceflight just weeks after putting the last one in orbit,” says Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “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 analyzing the data as we work towards reusability.”
Rocket Lab’s next mission is yet to be announced but is scheduled for lift-off from Launch Complex 1 in the coming weeks.