Bringing a Rocket Back from Space: Rocket Lab to Recover Electron Booster on Next Mission

A crew recovers the first stage of an Electron rocket from the ocean. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab will attempt to bring an intact rocket back from space in another major step toward making Electron the first reusable orbital small launch vehicle 

Long Beach, California. April 8, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the leading launch and space systems company, today announced that on its next mission the company will attempt to bring a rocket back from space, slowing the Electron launch vehicle down from speeds of >Mach 8 as it re-enter’s Earth’s atmosphere before splashing the rocket down in the ocean. The complex mission is the next major step toward making Electron the first orbital-class reusable small launch vehicle, enabling rapid-turnaround launches for small satellites.

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BlackSky Accelerates Constellation Deployment with Five Rocket Lab Launches

Using high-revisit satellite imagery, BlackSky’s Spectra AI has detected the utilization of major facilities at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Parking spaces shown in green are rarely used, while red indicates frequent occupancy. BlackSky customers can also understand inflow/outflow of cargo and monitor airline maintenance activity. (Photo: BlackSky)

Company’s real-time geospatial solutions to average one-hour dawn-to-dusk imaging revisit rates and 90-minute delivery times

HERNDON, Va.–(BlackSky PR)–BlackSky, a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services that recently announced a planned business combination with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SFTW), today reported it has secured five Rocket Lab missions to deploy nine satellites between March and the end of 2021. The first of these launches took place on March 22, 2021. The company is accelerating the deployment of its constellation of Gen-2, high-revisit, high-resolution imaging satellites and expects to deliver capabilities in 2021 that were originally planned for delivery in 2022.

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SPACovirus Sweeps Space Sector

Richard Branson celebrates the first Virgin Galactic trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Credit Virgin Galactic)
Wall Street’s latest easy money craze has attracted a growing number of space companies. But, just because they can go public, should they?

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Seven space companies have gotten caught up in the SPACovirus sweeping through Wall Street. The impact on the space industry is going to be interesting to watch.

A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition company. It’s a publicly traded investment firm that, with outside investors, acquires or merges with another company, and then takes the acquisition public under its own name.

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Rocket Lab Goes SPAC: Company to Go Public in Merger with Vector Acquisition Corp.

Transaction will provide capital to fund development of reusable Neutron launch vehicle with an 8-ton payload lift capacity tailored for mega constellations, deep space missions and human spaceflight

Proceeds also expected to fund organic and inorganic growth in the space systems market and support expansion into space applications enabling Rocket Lab to deliver data and services from space

Business combination values Rocket Lab at an implied pro forma enterprise value of $4.1 billion. Pro forma cash balance of the combined company of approximately $750 million at close

End-to-end space company with an established track record, uniquely positioned to extend its lead across a launch, space systems and space applications market forecast to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2030

Transaction is expected to close in Q2 2021, upon which Rocket Lab will be publicly listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker RKLB

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Rocket Lab Unveils Plans for Larger Neutron Launch Vehicle Aimed at Mega-Constellations, Planetary Missions and Human Spaceflight

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 1, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab today unveiled plans for its Neutron rocket, an advanced 8-ton payload class launch vehicle tailored for mega-constellation deployment, interplanetary missions and human spaceflight.   

Neutron will build on Rocket Lab’s proven experience developing the reliable workhorse Electron launch vehicle, the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually since 2019. Where Electron provides dedicated access to orbit for small satellites of up to 300 kg (660 lb), Neutron will transform space access for satellite constellations and provide a dependable, high-flight-rate dedicated launch solution for larger commercial and government payloads.

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Rocket Lab’s Next Mission to Launch 100th Satellite and Deploy Next-Generation Photon Spacecraft in Preparation for Moon Mission

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

The mission will deploy a range of satellites for commercial and government customers, as well as place a next-generation Photon spacecraft in orbit to build heritage for Rocket Lab’s upcoming mission to the Moon for NASA

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab, a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced its next mission will deploy a range of satellites for commercial and government satellite operators, and place a next-generation Photon spacecraft in orbit to build spacecraft heritage ahead of Rocket Lab’s mission to the Moon for NASA in Q3 this year.

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Rocket Lab Demonstrates New Orbital Maneuvering Capability with Most Complex Kick Stage Mission Yet

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

Launched just six months after contract signing, Rocket Lab’s ‘Another One Leaves The Crust’ mission demonstrated the longest on-orbit burn to date for the Kick Stage’s Curie engine 

LONG BEACH, Calif., 26 January 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, demonstrated the increased maneuvering capability of the Kick Stage during the company’s 18th Electron launch, successfully burning the Curie engine for more than twice the standard mission duration and delivering more than 1,700 km of perigee change.

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Rocket Lab Readies Photon Spacecraft for NASA Moon Mission

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (Credit: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems)

The CAPSTONE mission will see Rocket Lab extend its reach far beyond Earth orbit for the first time to deploy an in-house designed and built Photon spacecraft to the Moon.

Long Beach, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab has reached a key milestone ahead of the company’s first launch to the Moon, with spacecraft qualification underway for the Photon spacecraft that will transport a NASA satellite into a unique lunar orbit that no other spacecraft has explored before.

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Rocket Lab to Launch Dedicated Mission for Japanese Earth Imaging Company Synspective

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a space technology company and global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today announced Japanese Earth-imaging company Synspective as the customer for Rocket Lab’s 17th Electron launch, and its seventh mission of the year.

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Rocket Lab Launches 30 Satellites, First Stage Parachutes into Ocean

An Electron first stage descends under parachute. “My new favourite image of 2020,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck tweeted. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Rocket Lab launched 30 satellites into orbit from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand on Friday. For the first time, the company recovered the Electron rocket’s first stage.

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Rocket Lab to Attempt First Stage Recovery on Next Mission

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 5, 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab has today revealed that it will attempt to recover the first stage of its Electron rocket during its next mission, the ‘Return to Sender’ launch, scheduled for lift-off in mid-November.

The test will see Rocket Lab attempt to bring Electron’s first stage back to Earth under a parachute system for a controlled water landing before collection by a recovery vessel.

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Rocket Lab to Launch Most Diverse Mission Yet

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)
  • The mission will deploy 30 satellites to unique orbits using the Electron launch vehicle’s Kick Stage space tug
  • The satellites will enable internet from space, test new methods of deorbiting space debris, and enable research into predicting earthquakes
  • The launch will also feature a 3D printed mass simulator for Valve’s Gabe Newell to raise funds for Starship Children’s Hospital

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 2, 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Leading space systems company, Rocket Lab, has today announced its next Electron mission will feature a diverse range of payloads from the United States, France and New Zealand.

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Virgin Orbit has Raised $1 Billion, Needs $200 Million More

LauncherOne operated in powered flight for only seconds before an anomaly shut it down after being dropped from the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747. (Credit; Virgin Orbit)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit satellite launch company needs another $200 million in investment after having already raised $1 billion.

So said the British billionaire during The Wall Street Journal’s recent Tech Live conference. The amount raised is considerably larger than a previous estimate of $700 million.

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Rocket Lab Completes Final Dress Rehearsal at Launch Complex 2 Ahead of First Electron Mission from U.S. Soil

Electron on the launch pad at Wallops Island. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., 17 September 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a leading satellite manufacturer and launch provider, has successfully completed a wet dress rehearsal of the Electron vehicle at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 (LC-2) at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia.

With this major milestone complete, the Electron launch vehicle, launch team, and the LC-2 pad systems are now ready for Rocket Lab’s first launch from U.S. soil. The mission is a dedicated launch for the United States Space Force in partnership with the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program and the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division. 

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