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Live Stream

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NASA Spaceflight

Rocket Lab Debuts Photon Satellite

Rocket Lab has announced that the kick stage used on their 14th Electron launch, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical,” was transitioned into satellite mode after payload deployment. This is the first Photon satellite to fly, named “First L...

SpaceNews

Rocket Lab launches first Photon satellite

Rocket Lab announced Sept. 3 that it has placed its first Photon satellite into orbit, demonstrating the spacecraft’s technologies.

Spaceflight Now

Amid shuffling schedules, Capella to fly its first commercial satellite with Rocket Lab

If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member . If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further. A...

SpaceNews

Rocket Lab returns to flight with Capella Space launch

Rocket Lab successfully launched a radar imaging satellite Aug. 30 in the first flight of the Electron since a failure nearly two months ago.

NASA Spaceflight

Rocket Lab Returns To Flight with Electron’s 14th mission

Rocket Lab is preparing their Electron smallsat launch vehicle for its Return To Flight mission, nicknamed “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical”. This will be the company’s first launch following an anomaly on the “Pics or it Didn’t Happen”...

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical

Overview

Destination: None
Mission: Earth Science

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1A Onenui Station, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand Probability: 90%

This return to flight mission is dedicated for Capella Space, an information services company providing Earth observation data on demand. Capella’s payload, ‘Sequoia’, is a single 100 kg class microsatellite which will be the first publicly available satellite in the company’s commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) constellation. By positioning the satellite to a 45-degree inclination, Capella Space will maximize coverage over important areas such as the Middle East, Korea, Japan, Europe, South East Asia, Africa, and the U.S. The mission name is a nod to Capella’s SAR technology that provides high quality images of the Earth day or night, and in any weather conditions, as well as a nod to the infamous advertisement campaign for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. Capella’s space-based radar can detect sub-0.5 meter changes on the surface of the Earth, providing insights and data that can be used for security, agricultural and infrastructure monitoring, as well as disaster response and recovery.

Electron

Family: Electron
Configuration:

Electron is a two-stage orbital expendable launch vehicle (with an optional third stage) developed by the American aerospace company Rocket Lab. Electron is a small-lift launch vehicle designed to launch small satellites and cubesats to sun-synchronous orbit and low earth orbit. The Electron is the first orbital class rocket to use electric-pump-fed engines, powered by the 9 Rutherford engines on the first stage.

See Electron Details
Specifications
  • Minimum Stage
    2
  • Max Stage
    3
  • Length
    17.0 m
  • Diameter
    1.2 m
  • Fairing Diameter
  • Launch Mass
    12 T
  • Thrust
    162 kN
Family
  • Name
    Electron
  • Family
    Electron
  • Variant
  • Alias
  • Full Name
    Electron
Payload Capacity
  • Launch Cost
    $6,000,000
  • Low Earth Orbit
    225 kg
  • Geostationary Transfer Orbit
  • Direct Geostationary
  • Sun-Synchronous Capacity
    225 kg

Rocket Lab Ltd

Circle Image
CEO: Peter Beck Founded: 2006 Successes: 12 Failures: 2 Pending: 8

Agency Type: Commercial

Rocket Lab is an American aerospace manufacturer with a wholly owned New Zealand subsidiary. The company develops lightweight, cost-effective commercial rocket launch services. The Electron Program was founded on the premise that small payloads such as CubeSats require dedicated small launch vehicles and flexibility not currently offered by traditional rocket systems. Its rocket, the Electron, is a light-weight rocket and is now operating commercially. Electron currently launches from only Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand however they are currently looking into developing a facility in the US.

INFO WIKI

Onenui Station, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

Pad: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1A


Long March 4
Success
5 days, 6 hours ago
Haiyang 2C
Launch Area 4 (SLS-2 / 603) - Jiuquan, People's Republic of China

Haiyang (Chinese: "Ocean"), abbreviated HY, is a marine remote sensing satellite series planned by China.


Long March 11
Success
1 week, 4 days ago
Gaofen-03-1
Mobile launch platform - Sea Launch

Gaofen is a series of civilian Earth observation satellites developed and launched for the China High-definition Earth Observation System (CHEOS), ...


Kuaizhou
Failure
2 weeks ago
Jilin-1-02C
Unknown Pad - Jiuquan, People's Republic of China

Jilin-1 is a series of Chinese commercial remote sensing satellites.


Astra Rocket 3.0
Failure
2 weeks ago
Maiden Flight
Launch Pad B - Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska, USA

This is the first orbital attempt of Astra Space small satellite launch vehicle. Rocket carries no payload for this flight.


Long March 4
Success
2 weeks, 5 days ago
Gaofen-11-02
Unknown Pad - Taiyuan, People's Republic of China

Gaofen is a series of civilian Earth observation satellites developed and launched for the China High-definition Earth Observation System (CHEOS), ...


Long March 2F
Success
3 weeks, 1 day ago
Chinese Reusable Space Vehicle
Launch Area 4 (SLS-1 / 921) - Jiuquan, People's Republic of China

The payload is an experimental reusable spacecraft. It is rumored to be a prototype of a reusable spaceplane (similar to Boeing X-37B vehicle). Th...


Starship Prototype
Success
3 weeks, 1 day ago
150m Hop
SpaceX South Texas Launch Site - SpaceX Space Launch Facility, TX, USA

The Starship SN6 prototype will attempt to perform a 150m hop similar to the one successfully performed by its predecessor SN5.


Falcon 9 Block 5
Success
3 weeks, 1 day ago
Starlink 11
Launch Complex 39A - Kennedy Space Center, FL, USA

A batch of 60 satellites for Starlink mega-constellation - SpaceX's project for space-based Internet communication system.


Vega
Success
3 weeks, 2 days ago
SSMS POC
Ariane Launch Area 1 - Kourou, French Guiana

The Vega POC (Proof Of Concept) flight will be the first mission of the SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service), a modular carbon fiber dispenser, ...


Electron
Success
3 weeks, 5 days ago
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical
Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1A - Onenui Station, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

This return to flight mission is dedicated for Capella Space, an information services company providing Earth observation data on demand. Capella’...