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article imageRocket Lab racks up another successful mission for 2019

By Karen Graham     Jun 29, 2019 in Technology
Rocket Lab has successfully launched a rideshare mission for the private aerospace company Spaceflight, as they look to continue racking up their launch cadence in 2019.
Huntington Beach, California-based startup Rocket Lab launched seven small satellites to low-Earth orbit on the company's seventh flight, a mission dubbed "Make It Rain" early this morning (June 29).
The company's two-stage Electron booster rocket lifted off from their Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 12.30 A.M. Eastern time (4.30 P.M. local time) and 56 minutes later, all seven small satellites were deployed into their intended low-Earth orbits.
“Congratulations to the dedicated teams behind the payloads on this mission, and also to our team for another flawless Electron launch,” Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said in a statement.
Mission Patch - Make it Rain
Mission Patch - Make it Rain
Rocket Lab
“It’s a privilege to provide tailored and reliable access to space for small satellites like these, giving each one a smooth ride to orbit and precise deployment, even in a rideshare arrangement.”
Today's launch is the seventh time the Electron rocket has flown. This includes test flights and in 2019, three missions, including the "Two Thumbs Up" mission in March this year and the “That’s a Funny Looking Cactus” in May. Rocket Lab gives each mission a nickname. "Make It Rain" is a reference to Seattle, the famously wet city that serves as the home base of Spaceflight, the rideshare provider that procured the mission.
Spaceflight's first rideshare mission
Seattle-based Spaceflight is a leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider. Today's rideshare mission is just the first of five launches scheduled with Rocket Lab this year, according to a press release published earlier this month.
“We’re looking forward to not only our inaugural flight with Rocket Lab but a long-term partnership to increase access to space via frequent launches,” said Curt Blake, CEO of Spaceflight. “Having the Electron in our arsenal of small launch vehicles provides our customers with a low-cost, flexible option to get on orbit.”
Upstart Rocket Lab is already cementing itself as a leader in the smallsat launcher market. The company's Electron two-stage booster is 57 feet tall and four feet wide (17 by 1.2 meters). The Electron can loft a maximum of about 500 pounds (225 kilograms) on each roughly $5 million per liftoff.
Today's mission consisted of a total payload of 176 pounds (80 kilograms). The satellites included the Global-3, a satellite for the Earth-imaging company BlackSky, and was the largest satellite on the launch at 60 kilograms.
Also onboard were two CubeSats for U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Prometheus, and two SpaceBEE CubeSats from U.S. startup Swarm Technologies. Also included is the CubeSat ACRUX-1, launched for the Melbourne Space Program, an educational organization that gives Australian students hands-on experience with space projects, according to Space.com.
The future looks bright for Rocket Lab
Rocket Lab would like to conduct one launch a month through the end of 2019, increasing that number to two a month in 2020. This will be made possible by the construction of a new launch facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
So far, the company has now launched 35 satellites since its first commercial flight in January 2018, with an impressive 100 percent mission success rate for its customers.
More about Rocket Lab, rideshare mission, making it rain, Spaceflight, New Zealand
 
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