An Overview of Rocket Lab’s Next Launch

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

“As the Crow Flies”

Booster: Electron
Payload: Palisade 16U CubeSat for Astro Digital
Location: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, NZ
Launch Period: 15 October – 28 October 2019 NZDT (14 October – 28 October 2019 UTC)
Launch Window: Daily from 12:00 – 16:00 NZDT (23:00 – 03:00 UTC/7 – 11 pm EDT)
Live launch webcast: (begins 15 – 20 minutes prior to launch)
Launch Day Updates: and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab

Mission Overview

Rocket Lab’s ninth mission will deploy a single microsat for satellite manufacturer and operator Astro Digital. The mission will lift-off Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

The payload on board is a Palisade technology demonstration satellite, a 16U CubeSat bus with on-board propulsion system, a next generation
Astro Digital developed communications system, and software developed by Advanced Solutions Inc. including an advanced version of ASI’s MAX
Flight Software.

The orbital parameters for this mission will see Electron’s Kick Stage deploy the payload to more than twice the altitude reached by any Rocket
Lab mission to date.

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 which includes crows.

Mission Timeline

-06:00:00 Road to the launch site closed
-04:00:00 Electron lifted to vertical position and filled with fuel
-02:30:00 Launch pad personnel exit area in preparation for launch
-02:00:00 Electron filled with liquid oxygen (LOx)
-02:00:00 Safety zones are activated for designated marine space
-00:30:00 Safety zones are activated for designated airspace
-00:18:00 The Launch Director conducts a go/no-go poll of launch operators to confirm Electron is ready for launch
-00:02:00 Autosequence commences and Electron’s on-board computers initiate the launch sequence
-00:00:02 Ignition of the nine Rutherford engines powering Electron’s first stage
00:00:00 Lift-off
+00:02:35 Main engines (Stage 1) cut off
+00:02:39 Stage 1 of Electron separates
+00:02:42 The vacuum Rutherford engine on Stage 2 ignites
+00:03:03 The Electron’s fairing separates
+00:06:47 Battery hot-swap is performed
+00:09:08 Electron reaches orbit
+00:09:14 Stage 2 engine cuts off
+00:09:18 Stage 2 of Electron separates
+01:08:33 Kick Stage ignites
+01:10:36 Curie engine powering Kick Stage cuts off
+01:11:22 Payload separated from launch vehicle