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[SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« dnia: Grudzień 13, 2019, 19:44 »
Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
by Jeff Foust — December 12, 2019


An aerial view of Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 2 (right) under construction on Wallops Island adjacent to the existing launch pad for Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket. Credit: Rocket Lab

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force will be the first customer for a Rocket Lab Electron launching in 2020 from a new launch site in Virginia, the company announced Dec. 12.

Rocket Lab formally opened Launch Complex (LC) 2, a launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, adjacent to the pad used by Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket. The launch site, similar to the company’s existing Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, is specifically designed for U.S. government customers who prefer to launch from American soil and also want responsive launch capabilities.

“We’ve certainly made a number of improvements to the pad, but the pads look identical,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in an interview. “That’s part of the reason why we were able to build the site so quickly.” Construction of the pad started in February after a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2018.

The launch pad does have some additional features to support U.S. national security customers, like increased security, he said. A separate integration facility down the road from the pad can support multiple Electron rockets with separate clean rooms for payload processing, part of efforts to be able to handle launches on short notice. The company estimates the site will support a staff of about 30 employees from engineering to office administration.

Rocket Lab announced that the first customer to launch on an Electron from LC-2 will be the U.S. Air Force, which will fly a microsatellite mission called STP-27RM for the service’s Space Test Program in the second quarter of 2020. That program provides flight opportunities for advanced technologies seeking demonstrations in space.

“We look forward to Rocket Lab successfully launching the STP-27RM mission from Launch Complex 2 next spring, which will test new capabilities that we will need in the future,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise, in a statement.

Air Force Lt. Col. Meagan Thrush, program element monitor for space launch and control, said at a press conference that the payload is a research and development satellite called Monolith. That satellite, developed by the Air Force Research Lab, will examine the ability of small satellites to support “large aperture space weather payloads,” she said.

While Rocket Lab says LC-2 is complete, some final testing is planned prior to that first launch. “The next big step is to put a rocket on the pad and then do all the interface testing between the launch vehicle and the pad,” Beck said.

LC-2 is designed to handle up to 12 launches per year. Beck said that once they get that first launch done next week and handle any “teething issues” with the new pad, they’ll be ready to support additional launches “as customers require.” He expected that the company will, between the two launch sites, perform at least one launch a month in 2020, double the rate of six launches the company conducted in 2019.

Another major effort for Rocket Lab in the next year will be efforts to recover and reuse the Electron’s first stage. The company achieved a milestone in that effort in Electron’s most recent launch Dec. 6, controlling the rocket’s first stage after stage separation all the way down to the ocean surface.

“It was awesome. It was fantastic,” he said of the reentry test, which required keeping the stage in a narrow corridor as it reentered and flew through a period of deceleration the company has dubbed “the wall.” The stage, he said, remained in one piece all the way to ocean impact.

“It puts us light-years ahead of where we’re expecting to be, and really accelerates our recovery efforts,” he said.

Beck said the company will duplicate the test on the company’s next launch, scheduled for as soon as January from LC-1 in New Zealand. He said that the company should be able to provide more live video during the stage’s reentry on that launch than on last week’s mission, where the company cut off the video feed in order to ensure it received engineering data with the available bandwidth.

After that, he said the company will “go quiet” for a few months to undertake another block upgrade of the rocket to make additional changes for recovering the stage, such as the inclusion of parachutes. “The next step is to splash it down into the water gently, and then the step after that is to recover it in mid-air with a helicopter,” he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-inaugurates-u-s-launch-site/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Grudzień 13, 2019, 19:46 »
Rocket Lab to debut Virginia launch pad with U.S. Air Force mission next year
December 12, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]


File photo of an Electron rocket lifting off from Rocket Lab’s launch site in New Zealand, powered by nine liquid-fueled Rutherford engines. Credit: Rocket Lab / Andrew Burns & Simon Moffatt

Rocket Lab plans to launch a research and development microsatellite mission for the U.S. Air Force in the first half of 2020 on the the first flight from the company’s new launch facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, officials announced Thursday.

Company officials announced the payload and launch schedule Thursday during a media briefing at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to provide an update on Rocket Lab’s first U.S. launch pad.

Rocket Lab, a U.S.-New Zealand company, has launched all 10 of its Electron rocket missions from the privately-owned Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula, located on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The new facility in Virginia — designated Launch Complex 2 — will allow Rocket Lab to hasten its flight pace, providing a location to launch U.S. military and other government payloads, and adding an alternative launch site for company’s commercial customers.

“Today, just 10 months after we started construction on launch site 2, we’re proud to call Wallops Island and Virginia our home,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO. “We’re very proud to deliver a new launch capability to the United States. We’re very proud to support U.S. missions with a U.S. launch vehicle from U.S. soil.”

Rocket Lab has its corporate headquarters in Southern California, and operates two rocket factories in California and in New Zealand.

The first launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron booster from Virginia is planned in the second quarter of 2020 — between the beginning of April and the end of June — with a research and development microsatellite for the U.S. Air Force, officials said Thursday. The mission will be managed by the U.S. military’s Space Test Program, which develops and launches scientific, experimental and technology demonstration satellites for the Defense Department.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be launching a U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program payload as the inaugural mission from Launch Complex 2,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO, in a statement. “We’ve already successfully delivered STP payloads on Electron from Launch Complex 1, and we’re proud to be providing that same rapid, responsive, and tailored access to orbit from U.S. soil.

“With the choice of two Rocket Lab launch sites offering more than 130 launch opportunities each year, our customers enjoy unmatched control over their launch schedule and orbital requirements,” Beck said. “Rocket Lab has made frequent, reliable and responsive access to space the new normal for small satellites.”

The satellite assigned to launch on the first Electron flight from the United States is named Monolith. Managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Monolith will demonstrate the ability for small satellites to support large aperture payloads. In the case of Monolith, the Air Force wants to test a space weather instrument package, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Meagan Thrush, program element monitor for space launch and control.

The STP-27RM mission with the Monolith microsatellite is an extension of the Air Force’s Rapid Agile Launch Initiative, or RALI, program. The Air Force established the RALI program to procure launch services more quickly and at lower cost than through the military’s traditional launch acquisition schemes.

Rocket Lab’s two-stage Electron launcher stands around 55 feet (17 meters) tall and measures 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in diameter. Powered by 3D-printed Rutherford engines, the kerosene-fueled rocket can lift up to 330 pounds of payload into a 310-mile-high (500-kilometer) polar sun-synchronous orbit.

A dedicated Electron launch sells for as low as $7 million, significantly lower than the price of flights on larger rockets. The Electron is designed to give small satellites their own ride into orbit. Before smallsat launch companies like Rocket Lab, CubeSats and microsatellites typically launched as secondary payloads, with their orbital destinations and launch schedules at the whim of the demands of a larger mission.

“Launch Complex 2 gives us the capability to support directly a wide variety of government and commercial missions,” Beck said. “The launch site is primarily being designed to support government missions with additional security and capabilities, but LC-1 will remain our high-volume launch site for a majority of commercial missions.”



File photo of an Electron launch from New Zealand. Credit: Trevor Mahlmann/Rocket Lab

“Rocket Lab’s launch site at the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, strengthens the United States’ ability to provide responsive and reliable access to space,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the launch enterprise directorate at the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. “We look forward to Rocket Lab successfully launching the STP-27RM mission from Launch Complex 2 next spring, which will test new capabilities that we will need in the future.”

Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 facility is located at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, adjacent to pad 0A used to launch Northrop Grumman’s Antares rockets on resupply missions to the International Space Station.

The Antares launcher is more than twice the height of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, but Rocket Lab’s launch manifest projections suggest the Electron will fly from Wallops much more often than the Antares’ regular launch cadence of two flights per year.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is run by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, or Virginia Space, an organization created by the Virginia legislature to promote commercial space activity within the commonwealth. The spaceport now has three orbital-class launch facilities, one for Rocket Lab, one for the Antares rocket, and another used to launch solid-fueled Minotaur boosters.

Rocket Lab says construction of Launch Complex 2, which sits inside the perimeter fence of the Antares launch pad, started in February and was completed in 10 months. The new pad is designed to support up to 12 launches per year, including “rapid call-up” missions, giving the military a quick-response launch option, according to Rocket Lab.

Officials Thursday did not define whether the rapid call-up capability would mean Electron launches within days, weeks or months of tasking by the U.S. military.

Engineers developed the new launch pad based on the design of Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 facility in New Zealand, with a few upgrades to make it easier to maintain and operate.

“I know we set a U.S. (speed) record for building a launch pad , and I suspect a world record,” said Dale Nash, CEO and executive director of Virginia Space. “It is smaller than launch pad A (used for Antares), but it’s really not any less complex.”

One of the differences between Rocket Lab’s launch pad in New Zealand and the one in Virginia is in the launch mount.

“The launch mount itself in New Zealand will roll,” Nash said Thursday. “Here, it doesn’t. The rocket will roll on and roll off. The Integration and Control Facility, where they will process the rockets, is built so that you never have to lift the rocket. It can roll from the processing (facility) into the trailer, go out to the pad and stand up.”

“The opening of Launch Complex 2 is a significant milestone and a remarkable achievement made possible by the strong partnership with Rocket Lab and NASA,” Nash said in a statement. “Almost immediately after Rocket Lab’s selection of MARS as its U.S. launch site, engineers, managers and technicians worked tirelessly together across multiple time zones and two continents to make LC-2 a reality.”

“The fact that we have an operational launch site less than a year after construction began is testament to the hard work and dedication of the Virginia Space and NASA teams, as well as the unwavering support of our local suppliers,” said Shaun D’Mello, Rocket Lab’s vice president of launch.



This Oct. 29 image of a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket on pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport shows the black strongback structure at Rocket Lab’s neighboring Launch Complex 2 facility. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Rocket Lab launched six missions in 2019, and officials aim to achieve a more rapid launch cadence next year, with launches as often as every two weeks.

“This year, Electron was the fourth-most frequently launched vehicle in the world,” Beck said. “We’ve delivered 47 satellites to orbit so far, so we’re really excited to increase this cadence and this history here at LC-2.”

The company says more than 150 local construction workers and contractors were involved in the development of Launch Complex 2 in Virginia. The 66-ton launch platform and 7.6-ton strongback were supplied by Steel America, a Virginia-based company.

Rocket Lab’s Integration and Control Facility, or ICF, at the nearby Wallops Research Park will support payload and launch vehicle processing before liftoff. The processing facility will also be home to a launch control center and office space.

Up to four Electron rockets will be housed at the ICF at one time, D’Mello said. The rockets will initially be transported to Wallops from Rocket Lab’s factory in Auckland, New Zealand, and future vehicles will be shipped from the company’s plant in Huntington Beach, California, as production ramps up there.

“We will then be able to have Electrons in standby, truly ready for their call to orbit on a short and responsive notice,” D’Mello said.

The company says it expects to employ up to 30 people at the Virginia launch site in engineering, launch safety and administrative positions in the coming year.

With the launch pad construction complete, teams at Wallops are beginning checkouts and testing ahead of the first Electron launch campaign. One of the first tests will involve flowing super-cold fluid through the launch pad’s plumbing to verify it can handle cryogenic propellants used by the Electron rocket.

“We are going to go into the cryo shock (testing), meaning we will chill the system down beginning with liquid nitrogen next week,” Nash said. “You learn what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully, there are not many things that don’t.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/12/12/rocket-lab-to-debut-virginia-launch-pad-with-u-s-air-force-mission-next-year/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Styczeń 31, 2020, 15:08 »
Rocket Lab to build second launch pad in New Zealand
by Jeff Foust — December 18, 2019 [SN]


An illustration of Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1, with the new Pad B placed between the existing Pad A (left) and the vehicle integration facility. Credit: Rocket Lab

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — Just days after marking the completion of a new launch site in Virginia, Rocket Lab announced Dec. 18 that it has started work on a second pad at its original launch site in New Zealand.

The company said it recently started construction of Launch Complex (LC) 1 Pad B, a second pad at its site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula where it also has payload processing and vehicle integration facilities. The new pad is scheduled to become operational by late 2020.

In an interview, Rocket Lab Chief Executive Peter Beck said the decision to build the second pad was driven by an anticipated increase in its launch rate. The company carried out six launches of its Electron rocket in 2019 but expects to launch once a month in 2020 and eventually increase to weekly launches.

“The additional pad really gives us the capacity to get down to one launch every week, which is what we’ve always been driving to,” he said. The company current spends about four weeks to recycle the pad between launches, which he said can be shortened to two.

The additional pad also means the company can maintain a steady cadence of launches even while doing maintenance on one of the two pads. “It just gives us a lot of flexibility,” he said. “We can be processing one rocket on one pad while the other pad is being serviced.”

It also fits into an emphasis the company has made on responsive launch, which drove the development of Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island, Virginia, that the company formally opened Dec. 12. “What we’re finding is that customers have late-changing requirements, so it gives us the flexibility, if a customer is going to be late, that we can get the next customer off quickly without cascading effects on the manifest,” he said.

Pad B will be based on the design of the existing pad at LC-1 as well as the new one just completed at LC-2 in Virginia, with minor changes. “We’re rolling in all the improvements from LC-2 into LC-1B,” he said. “They’ll all look the same, but there will be subtle things to make them easier to maintain.”

Beck has previously said building launch pads is one of the hardest things the company has done. “After we finished building Launch Complex 1, Shaun and I sat down and said, ‘Let’s never do that again,’” he said at the LC-2 event Dec. 12, recalling a conversation with Shaun D’Mello, the company’s vice president for launch. “I think most people don’t realize how complex launch pads are.”

“The team that finished building out LC-2 are getting bored, so they need another pad,” Beck joked in the interview. “They’re not fun things to build, but the plan here with LC-1 was always to have multiple pads, so we’re just moving out on our original plan.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-to-build-second-launch-pad-in-new-zealand/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Styczeń 31, 2020, 15:10 »
Rocket Lab kicks off busy year with NRO launch
by Jeff Foust — January 31, 2020 [SN]


A Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifts off Jan. 30 carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload. Credit: Rocket Lab

WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab successfully launched a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office Jan. 30 in the first of up to a dozen launches planned by the company this year.

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 9:56 p.m. Eastern. The launch, dubbed “Birds of a Feather” by Rocket Lab, was the 11th mission for the Electron rocket and its first launch of 2020.

“Starting our 2020 launch manifest with a successful mission for the NRO is an immensely proud moment for our team. It once again demonstrated our commitment to providing responsive, dedicated access to space for government small satellites,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in a statement.

The rocket was carrying a payload for the NRO designated NROL-151. The agency procured the launch through its Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket, or RASR, program, which it started in 2018 to procure small launch vehicles responsively. This launch was the first under the RASR program.

Neither Rocket Lab nor the NRO released details about the payload, including whether it was one or more satellites or their purpose. Amateur satellite observers noted the mission appeared to be going into a high inclination orbit of about 70 degrees, but not a sun-synchronous orbit commonly used by Earth observation missions.

The NRO released a logo for the mission prior to the launch that drew comparisons online to those of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and Jägermeister liquor. The logo is adorned with good luck charms like a horseshoe, four-leaf clover and wishbone. The NRO said in a tweet that the logo was “a light-hearted way to wish #NROL151 good fortune & luck on its mission.”



Cytuj
NRO@NatReconOfc 12:46 PM - Jan 28, 2020
For almost 6 decades, the NRO has answered the hardest national security questions w/ bold, innovative technology, & #NROL151 stands firm in this tradition. The logo is a light-hearted way to wish #NROL151 good fortune & luck on its mission. Launch date is Jan. 31 (NZDT).

Twitter

Rocket Lab also used the launch to further its efforts to recover and reuse the Electron first stage. The company said that, was with the previous Electron launch in December, the first stage survived reentry and remained intact until it hit the ocean.

In a December interview, Beck said that, after this test, the company would “go quiet” for a few months in its reusability efforts as it makes another block upgrade for the rocket to incorporate parachutes and other changes for recovering the stage. “The next step is to splash it down into the water gently, and then the step after that is to recover it in mid-air with a helicopter,” he said then.

This launch was the first of up to a dozen the company expects to carry out this year. That will include the first launch from the company’s Launch Complex 2 at Wallops Island, Virginia. That launch, carrying a U.S. Air Force research and development smallsat called Monolith on a mission designated STP-27RM, is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020.

Rocket Lab is also building a second launch pad in New Zealand, which will be ready by late this year, the company announced in December. The company announced Jan. 14 it is constructing a new headquarters and factory in Long Beach, California, that will be able to produce 12 or more Electron rockets a year, while adding a second mission control center.

In addition to its launch vehicle efforts, the company is working on a satellite bus called Photon based on the kick stage of the Electron rocket. In a Jan. 29 presentation at the 23rd Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference here, Shane Fleming, vice president of global commercial launch services at Rocket Lab, said that first Photon mission should take place this year. “We’re very excited to have our first Rocket Lab satellite on orbit,” he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-kicks-off-busy-year-with-nro-launch/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Styczeń 31, 2020, 15:10 »

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Marzec 21, 2020, 20:49 »
Rocket Lab launch preparations continue despite coronavirus travel restrictions
by Jeff Foust — March 20, 2020 [SN]


Rocket Lab says its next Electron launch is still on track for late March despite new restrictions on travel into New Zealand because of the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Trevor Mahlmann

WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab is continuing with preparations for a launch later this month despite the coronavirus pandemic, although another small launch company’s plans for a launch this month remain unclear.

Rocket Lab spokesperson Morgan Bailey said March 19 that the company was still planning to launch an Electron rocket from New Zealand later this month. The launch is currently scheduled for no earlier than March 30, a few days later originally announced.

That mission, called “Don’t Stop Me Now” by the company, will carry three payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office. It will also place into orbit ANDESITE, a cubesat built by students at Boston University and whose launch is being provided by NASA, as well as a cubesat from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

The launch is proceeding despite an order by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to close the country’s borders to those who are not citizens or residents of the country, effective March 20. The move is intended to stem the growth of cases of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, which reached 39 in New Zealand as of March 20.

Bailey said the launch teams, as well as all the payloads for the mission, are already at the company’s Launch Complex 1. Payload integration and a wet dress rehearsal of the rocket are scheduled for early next week.

Rocket Lab hasn’t disclosed if the pandemic and restrictions on travel will affect future launches, either in New Zealand or the United States. The company had been planning its first Electron launch from Launch Complex 2 at Wallops Island, Virginia, for the second quarter of this year.

The status of another potential launch of a small launch vehicle remains uncertain. Astra requested airspace restrictions and ocean hazard zones for a launch between March 23 and March 27 from the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska on Kodiak Island. A launch window is open each day from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Eastern.

“Since the second launch campaign of the DARPA Launch Challenge did not materialize, Astra has requested to conduct the same flight without DARPA sponsorship within the requested March window,” a memo from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which operates the launch site, states. That memo is included in a U.S. Coast Guard “Local Notice to Mariners” report published March 18.

The Federal Aviation Administration has published a Notice to Airmen, or NOTAM, for launch activities from that site for March 24 and 25. An earlier NOTAM for a March 23 launch was no longer active as of March 19.

Astra has not commented on its launch plans publicly, and the company did not respond to requests for comment March 19. The company has made no public announcements since its last launch attempt at the end of the DARPA Launch Challenge was scrubbed March 2 because of what the company called “off-nominal” data from the vehicle detected less than a minute before scheduled liftoff.

At the time of that scrub, Astra projected trying again later in the month. “That is probably not a day or two. It’s more like a week or two,” Chris Kemp, chief executive of Astra, said in a post-scrub media teleconference of the timeframe of the next launch. “It’s certainly not a month or two.” That would also allow the company to replace the DARPA-supplied payload with one from an unidentified customer.

Astra’s plans may be complicated by travel restrictions in California. The company’s headquarters, which includes a launch control center, is in Alameda, California, a city located in one of the six San Francisco Bay Area counties that instituted “shelter in place” restrictions March 17 to limit the spread of COVID-19. That allowed only “essential” businesses to continue operations.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order March 19 extending those restrictions statewide, effective immediately. That order does allow work to continue at companies considered part of “federal critical infrastructure sectors.” One of those sectors, “critical manufacturing,” includes aerospace products and parts manufacturing.


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-launch-preparations-continue-despite-coronavirus-travel-restrictions/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab launches NRO, university payloads
« Odpowiedź #5 dnia: Czerwiec 13, 2020, 15:59 »
Rocket Lab launches NRO, university payloads
by Jeff Foust — June 13, 2020 [SN]


A Rocket Lab Electron lifts off from the company's New Zealand launch site June 13. Credit: Rocket Lab

WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket successfully launched a set of payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office and two universities June 13 on a mission delayed two and a half months by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Electron lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 1:12 a.m. Eastern. The company confirmed a little more than an hour later that all five payloads on the rocket had been successfully deployed in a “perfect orbit,” according to a tweet by Peter Beck, chief executive of the company.

The primary payloads on the Electron were three small satellites for the NRO, details about which, including their missions, sizes or even names, neither the company nor the agency disclosed. The launch was arranged through an NRO contract called Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) intended for streamlined acquisition of launch services. Rocket Lab’s previous launch, in January, was a dedicated mission for the NRO.

The Electron also carried two university cubesats. One, Ad-Hoc Network Demonstration for Extended Satellite-Based Inquiry and Other Team Endeavors (ANDESITE), was built by students at Boston University to study the Earth’s magnetic fields. Its launch was arranged by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The other, M2 Pathfinder, was built at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra in cooperation with the Australian government to study communications technologies.

“Missions like this one are testament to the flexibility we offer small satellite operators through our ability to deploy multiple payloads to precise and individual orbits on the same launch,” Beck said in a post-launch statement. “This collaborative mission was also a great demonstration of Rocket Lab’s capability in meeting the unique national security needs of the NRO, while on the same mission making space easy and accessible for educational payloads from NASA and UNSW Canberra.”

The mission, the 12th for the Electron, was called “Don’t Stop Me Now” by the company but was, in fact, stopped for months by the coronavirus pandemic. The company originally scheduled the launch for late March but postponed it because of restrictions on activities in New Zealand intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Those efforts have been remarkably successful in the country, eradicating the disease there. The New Zealand government has now lifted most restrictions, allowing the company to proceed with launch activities. Rocket Lab rescheduled the launch for June 11, but high winds at the launch site scrubbed the attempt, and the company rescheduled for June 13.

Rocket Lab says it has now resumed full production of Electron rockets as well as its new Photon small satellite bus. The company has not yet disclosed a launch date or customer for its next launch from New Zealand, but said it is planning its first launch from Launch Complex 2 at Wallops Island, Virginia, for the third quarter of this year.


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-launches-nro-university-payloads/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Czerwiec 13, 2020, 21:16 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [SN] University-built CubeSat launched with swarm of auroral science nodes
« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Czerwiec 13, 2020, 16:12 »
University-built CubeSat launched with swarm of auroral science nodes
June 13, 2020 Stephen Clark


Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket climbs away from a launch base in New Zealand Saturday. Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab successfully launched five small satellites from New Zealand Saturday for customers in the United States and Australia, including a CubeSat with a novel swarm of tiny magnetometers to measure the plasma currents that shape colorful auroras.

The 55-foot-tall (17-meter) rocket took off at 0512:12 GMT (1:12:12 a.m. EDT) from Rocket Lab’s privately-operated spaceport on Mahia Peninsula, located on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

(...)
Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/06/13/university-built-cubesat-launched-with-swarm-of-auroral-science-nodes/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Czerwiec 13, 2020, 21:17 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #7 dnia: Czerwiec 13, 2020, 16:53 »
Orionidzie, dwa ostatnie artykuły nie dotyczą amerykańskiego stanowiska startowego. Start odbył się z Nowej Zelandii:
http://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=4017.msg147076#msg147076

Może warto zmienić tytuł całego wątku?

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #8 dnia: Czerwiec 14, 2020, 09:18 »
Orionidzie, dwa ostatnie artykuły nie dotyczą amerykańskiego stanowiska startowego. Start odbył się z Nowej Zelandii:
http://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=4017.msg147076#msg147076

Może warto zmienić tytuł całego wątku?
Ujednoznaczniłem dwa ostatnie posty.
Zmiana tytułu wątku może się wiązać ze zbyt dużym podobieństwem z nazwą samego wątku tematycznego.

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #9 dnia: Czerwiec 14, 2020, 10:37 »
No to może lepiej stworzyć nowy wątek pt [SN] Rocket Lab launches NRO, university payloads ? (może jeszcze z datą w tytule wątku)?

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #10 dnia: Czerwiec 14, 2020, 11:36 »
No to może lepiej stworzyć nowy wątek pt [SN] Rocket Lab launches NRO, university payloads ? (może jeszcze z datą w tytule wątku)?
Wg mnie za dużo wątków się może namnożyć dla Rocket Lab.
Jest dodatkowo jeszcze jeden wątek w AA związany z tą firmą:
https://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=3952.msg141711#msg141711

W postach startowych i ewentualnie innych jest odwołanie to odpowiednich AA.
Wydaje mi się, że  Tematyczny Spis Treści (TSR) w miejscu poświęconym Rocket Lab powinien multitematyczność wątku w AA uporządkować.

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
« Odpowiedź #11 dnia: Czerwiec 14, 2020, 13:02 »
W postach startowych i ewentualnie innych jest odwołanie to odpowiednich AA.
Wydaje mi się, że  Tematyczny Spis Treści (TSR) w miejscu poświęconym Rocket Lab powinien multitematyczność wątku w AA uporządkować.

Daj znać, gdy będzie to gotowe! :)

Pytanie czy nie warto kilka takich właśnie postów z artykułami wrzucić do innych wątków niż w tym. Jak uważasz?

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab Electron launch fails
« Odpowiedź #12 dnia: Lipiec 05, 2020, 09:43 »
Rocket Lab Electron launch fails
by Jeff Foust — July 4, 2020 Updated 6:15 p.m. Eastern.


Electron launch July 2020

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifts off July 4 from New Zealand. The launch failed because of a problem with the rocket's second stage. Credit: Rocket Lab webcast

WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket failed to reach orbit during a July 4 launch after a problem during the rocket’s second-stage burn.

The Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, at 5:19 p.m. Eastern. The launch was originally scheduled for July 3 but pushed back two days because of poor weather in the forecast, only for the company to move up the launch to July 4 based on a reassessment of the weather.

The initial phases of the launch appeared to go as planned, although the vehicle’s passage through “max-q,” or maximum dynamic pressure, appeared to be rougher than what was seen in previous launches. Onboard video taken shortly before first-stage separation showed material appearing to peel from the rocket, although it was not clear if it simply a decal applied to the rocket or something more substantial.

The onboard video from the rocket froze about five minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff, or three minutes into the seconds stage burn. At six and a half minutes after liftoff, a launch controller on the company’s webcast of the launch said, “Initiating mishap response plan.”

Telemetry from the rocket, displayed on the webcast, showed the rocket’s altitude falling from about 194 kilometers to less than 165 kilometers for about 90 seconds before that information was removed from the screen. The company ended the webcast 11 minutes after liftoff, two minutes after the rocket’s second stage should have shut down and the kick stage, carrying its payload of seven satellites, deployed.

“An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab’s launch that caused the loss of the vehicle. We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron,” the company tweeted about 25 minutes after liftoff. “The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

“We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, tweeted after the failure. “Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon.”

The launch was the 13th for the Electron rocket. The vehicle had 11 consecutive successful launches after the rocket’s inaugural launch in May 2017 was terminated because of a telemetry issue involving range safety systems, and not a problem with the rocket itself.

The primary payload for the launch was CE-SAT-1B, a 67-kilogram imaging satellite built by Canon Electronics, whose launch was arranged by Spaceflight Inc. The satellite, capable of taking images with a resolution of 90 centimeters, was intended to demonstrate the spacecraft’s technologies as the company prepared mass production of similar satellites.

“This launch is very critical for Canon Electronics as we are launching a satellite where we have remarkably increased the ratio of in-house development of components compared to the previous launch,” said Nobutada Sako, group executive of the Satellite Systems Lab at Canon Electronics said in a pre-launch release. Canon launched a similar satellite, CE-SAT-1, in 2017.

The rocket carried five SuperDove imaging cubesats developed by Planet. These satellites are upgraded versions of its original Dove line of cubesats, with additional spectral bands to support geospatial applications in fields like architecture.

The seventh satellite on the Electron was Faraday-1, a six-unit cubesat developed by British startup In-Space Missions. The satellite is the first in a series by the company designed to carry hosted payloads. Faraday-1 included payloads for several customers such Airbus Defence and Space, which flew a payload called Prometheus 1 to test a reprogrammable software-defined radio.

This mission, dubbed “Pics or It Didn’t Happen” by Rocket Lab, featured the shortest turnaround time between Electron missions to date. The previous Electron launch, which carried three National Reconnaissance Office satellites and smallsats for American and Australian universities, launched June 13.

After a halt in launch activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Rocket Lab had planned to ramp up its launch activity in the second half of the year. The next mission after this was to take place with an even shorter turnaround, Beck said in a June 18 interview. The company was also looking ahead to a first Electron launch from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia that, prior to this failure, was expected to take place before the end of the summer.


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-electron-launch-fails/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab returns to flight with Capella Space launch
« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Sierpień 31, 2020, 17:35 »
Rocket Lab returns to flight with Capella Space launch
by Jeff Foust — August 31, 2020


A Rocket Lab Electron lifts off Aug. 30 carrying a Capella Space radar imaging satellite on the rocket's first flight since a July 4 launch failure. Credit: Rocket Lab

WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab successfully launched a radar imaging satellite for Capella Space Aug. 30 in the first flight of its Electron rocket since a failure nearly two months earlier.

The Electron lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 11:05 p.m. Eastern. It deployed its payload, the Sequoia radar imaging satellite for Capella Space, about an hour after liftoff into a 500-kilometer orbit at a 45-degree inclination.

The launch, called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical” by the company, was the first for the small launch vehicle since a failed mission July 4. On that earlier launch, the rocket’s upper-stage engine shut down nearly six minutes after liftoff, preventing its payload from reaching orbit.

A subsequent investigation concluded that an “anomalous electrical connection” in the upper stage caused a loss of power in many systems, including the electric turbopumps that power the engine. The problem with the connection was not seen in earlier flights and also was not detected during acceptance testing on the ground.

“I liken it to stacking up 20 slices of Swiss cheese and having all the holes line up perfectly,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said of the failure in a pre-launch interview.

Rocket Lab changed its testing procedures to be able to catch the problem before the launch. The company also used the investigation to revise other vehicle development processes. “We made quite a few changes to system processes and quality checks,” he said. “There’s no hardware changes, but certainly we’ve added some quality improvements. The vehicle coming up the line now will be even more reliable than vehicles prior to it.”

With the return to flight of Electron successfully completed, the company’s next major milestone is to perform its first launch from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia. Rocket Lab previously estimated that the launch would take place about a month after the return-to-flight mission.

Beck said in the interview that the schedule is pending approval by NASA, which operates the Wallops Flight Facility where the new launch site is located, of the vehicle’s autonomous flight termination system. “There’s a very long certification process that, quite frankly, we probably underestimated how long it would take,” he said.

Everything needed for the launch from Virginia, including the vehicle and payload, are ready, he said. “It’s difficult to predict when the certification will be complete,” he said. “We’re 100% ready to fly other than the paperwork.”

The payload on this launch, Sequoia, is the first operational satellite for Capella Space, a startup developing a constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites to provide high-resolution imagery. The “100-kilogram-class” satellite, which follows a demonstration satellite called Denali launched in late 2018, is designed to produce SAR imagery with a resolution as sharp as 0.5 meters.

Capella Space previously planned to launch Sequoia as a secondary payload on the Falcon 9 launch of Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B, a larger radar imaging satellite, in March. However, the coronavirus pandemic and the disruptions it caused for international travel forced a delay in the SAOCOM 1B launch.

Capella, which purchased an Electron launch earlier in the year for a future satellite, elected to use that contract for the launch of Sequoia because of the uncertainty of when SAOCOM 1B would launch. By chance, SAOCOM 1B launched on a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, less than four hours before the Electron launch.


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-returns-to-flight-with-capella-space-launch/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab launches first Photon satellite
« Odpowiedź #14 dnia: Wrzesień 05, 2020, 00:44 »
 Rocket Lab launches first Photon satellite
by Jeff Foust — September 3, 2020


An image taken from First Light, the first Rocket Lab Photon satellite placed in orbit during an Electron launch Aug. 30. Credit: Rocket Lab

WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab announced Sept. 3 that it has placed its first Photon satellite into orbit, demonstrating the spacecraft’s technologies and the company’s ability to provide end-to-end space solutions.

The satellite, called “First Light,” was launched as the kick stage of the Electron rocket that placed Capella Space’s Sequoia radar imaging satellite into orbit Aug. 30. Once the kick stage released Sequoia, controllers sent commands to place the stage into “Photon satellite mode,” turning the stage into an operational satellite.

“This is our very first Rocket Lab-built and -designed satellite,” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab chief executive, said in a call with reporters. “For the first time we are a complete end-to-end service.”

First Light is intended as a technology demonstration, testing key subsystems such as power, thermal management and attitude control. “We wanted to prove out all the things that didn’t have flight heritage,” he said. It also carries what he called a “pretty sweet camera” that has provided images of the spacecraft and the Earth.

The spacecraft will be on orbit for five to six years. Besides testing spacecraft technologies, First Light will also be available for potential customers to try out.

The company did not announce in advance plans to test Photon on this latest launch, which also served as the return to flight of the Electron after a launch failure in early July. “I kind of like to do stuff and make sure it works before announcing it,” he said.

More Photons that will primarily demonstrate the spacecraft’s capabilities will launch before flying customers, Beck said. “We’re developing a whole cadre of tech demos,” he said that will be flown on upcoming Electron missions. He suggested the first operational Photon mission would be the launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE cubesat to lunar orbit early next year.

Rocket Lab announced Photon in April 2019. The company said that, by offering customers a proven satellite bus based on the Electron’s kick stage, those customers could focus on developing their payloads, rather than also work on a satellite bus.

“You can use not only a proven launch vehicle but a proven spacecraft platform, so you’re not taking any development time or risk in getting your idea into orbit,” Beck said in an interview at the time the company announced Photon. Space startups, he said, often struggle with satellite development. “They’re trying to provide a data service but they have to go through all the learning of developing their own satellite, rather than get straight to revenue.”

Beck reiterated that in the call with reporters about the Photon launch. Potential customers include those who want to get flight experience with a payload quickly, or those who prefer a turnkey solution that includes the satellite bus, launch and ground stations. Beck noted that Photon’s propulsion system offers “incredibly high delta V,” or change in velocity, which has attracted interest from government agencies.

The goal of the overall effort, is “not to build a platform that limits it to a narrow group of missions” but instead one that is versatile. “It’s something best in class that covers a wide variety of missions.”

Beck said that the company has been working with a “select group” of customers while developing Photon, but did not name any of them. “The interest in Photon and the capability it represents is enormous,” he argued. He also declined to state how much the company has spent on Photon.

Over time, the revenue the Photon satellite program could rival that from the Electron rocket, he said, a diversification essential to stand out in a crowded market. “We’ve got a great launch business,” he said, “but in 2020 and onwards, you can’t just be a launch company.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-launches-first-photon-satellite/

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Odp: [SN] Rocket Lab launches first Photon satellite
« Odpowiedź #14 dnia: Wrzesień 05, 2020, 00:44 »