Rocket Lab is launching five more satellites to space after an over two months delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The flights carrying these satellites took off on the New Zealand soil alongside three US payloads for their National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Rocket Lab reports that the launch is a success with the five satellites filling in their allocated orbits.
Initially, Rocket Lab intended to launch these satellites in March also in remembrance of one of its board members Scott Smith. However, due to the lockdown and social distancing, the firm had to delay takeoff until under full preparation in line with the health regulations. Later on, strong winds delayed the launch of the mission.
Reports indicate that the three NRO payloads are a part of the mission after inquisition by a Small Rocket program. The program intends to hasten space accessibility for small satellite firms at a timely but cost-effective speed. This information is all that the Rocket Lab representatives understand about the three little NRO spacecraft. Also, this mission is one of the many collaborations of Rocket Lab with NRO. Rocket Lab is less concerned to inquire more from the fleet considering the US reluctance to spew details of their spacecraft.
Additionally, the mission includes the launch of a CubeSat called ANDESITE, a product of Boston University students. This CubeSat is for exploring the magnetic field of the earth and understanding space weather. This study is achievable with the instrumental picosatellites in the CubeSat.
Rocket Lab’s fifth satellite is a payload called M2 Pathfinder, which is a joint venture featuring the University of New South Wales Canberra Space and Australia. This mission is a design to filter the inadequacies of Australia in communication technology and explore future space discoveries.
Rocket Lab is updating the Electron spacecraft to facilitate access to space. This rocket can deliver over 200 kilograms for every $5 million takeoffs. The firm hopes to mechanize the reusability of the rocket’s segment and also create a smooth re-entry into space by the ship. However, the previous launches don’t accommodate this technology, implying that this mechanism is still under observation.
In conclusion, this latest mission entitled “Don’t Stop Me Now” is in remembrance of Scott Smith, a board member who recently died and was a lover of this song. This move is among the firm’s history of funny and tantalizing mission names. The mission description recollects Scott’s love for the music.