Rocket Lab Set for 19th Electron Launch

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

Rocket Lab Launch Update

Mission Name: They Go Up So Fast
Launch Vehicle: Electron
Launch Window: No Earlier than 23 March NZT/22 March UTC
Launch Time: No earlier than 11:20 am NZT/22:20 UTC/6:20 p.m. EDT
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

Rocket Lab’s 19th Electron mission will deploy a range of satellites for commercial and government satellite operators, as well as place a next-generation Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft in orbit to build spacecraft heritage ahead of Rocket Lab’s mission to the Moon for NASA later this year. 

 Seven satellites feature on the mission manifest, including:

  • An Earth-observation satellite for BlackSky via launch services provider Spaceflight Inc.;
  • Two Internet-Of-Things (IoT) nanosatellites for companies Fleet Space and Myriota, procured by Tyvak;
  • A technology demonstration satellite for the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra Space;
  • a weather satellite pathfinder technology demonstration from Care Weather technologies;
  • A technology demonstrator for the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) through launch integration and program management services provider, TriSept.

The final payload on this mission is Rocket Lab’s in-house designed and built Photon Pathstone. The spacecraft will operate on orbit as a risk reduction demonstration to build spacecraft heritage ahead of Rocket Lab’s mission to the Moon for NASA later this year, as well as Rocket Lab’s private mission to Venus in 2023. 

Photon Pathstone will demonstrate power management, thermal control, and attitude control subsystems, as well as newly-integrated technologies including deep-space radio capability, an upgraded RCS (reaction control system) for precision pointing in space, and sun sensors and star trackers. Pathstone is the second Photon spacecraft to be deployed to orbit, following the launch of Photon First Light in August 2020.