Rocket Lab will begin a mission from New Zealand on Saturday to put two new small motion satellites into orbit for BlackSky, the American satellite intelligence company.
The two satellites will fly a Rocket Lab Electron spacecraft into orbit, pointing at an altitude of 267 miles (430 kilometers), to join the growing BlackSky fleet.
The Electron rocket will launch at 8:10 am EDT (1210 GMT) Saturday, or 1:10 am local time in New Zealand on Sunday. The missionary will be released from Launch Complex 1A, one of two pads at Rocket Lab used privately on the Mahia Peninsula in Northern New Zealand.
The 59 -foot -high (18 -meter) Electron rocket – large enough to pull small loads into the air – will travel east from the launch pad, pointing to a central orbit with two BlackSky satellite satellites. .
The release was delayed for reasons not known more than a year ago at BlackSky’s request. Rocket Lab finishes its course and starts another mission Feb. 28. The release on Saturday is the second Rocket Lab launch of the year.
Rocket Lab and BlackSky announced a public advertising agreement last year. The mission on Saturday is the fourth of Rocket Lab’s dedicated mission for BlackSky, which will each carry two satellites to a setting created by Spaceflight’s small satellite broadcast provider.
“We look forward to re-equipping BlackSky and Spaceflight with a dedicated Electron mission to provide the flexibility they need to meet the unique demands of BlackSky’s constellation-on-demand,” he said. Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “We are proud to continue our association with them and look forward to helping them grow their constellation with this next missionary.”
More than 50,000 pounds will be released, the first phase of Electron’s oil to drive the rock eastward off the coast of New Zealand. The booster will be closed and released two and a half minutes after departure and drop into the Pacific Ocean.
Rocket Lab has no plans to return the Electron booster on Saturday’s mission.
A Rutherford engineer on the second stage will launch the BlackSky satellite twin into a first -line orbit. Within a six -minute fire, the Electron rocket will melt its nose cone with a clamshell -like carbon shell and replace the bearings that control the engine’s pumps.
The second level of Electron will release to the stage about nine minutes after the start. The station will fly halfway around the world before launching its Curie engine to put the BlackSky satellites into an estimated orbit at an altitude of 267 miles, approximately 42 degrees to the equator. .
BlackSky’s paychecks are expected to hit kick -off about an hour after departure.
The weight of each BlackSky satellite is about 121 pounds (55 kilograms). The satellites are built by LeoStella, a joint venture between BkackSky and Thales Alenia Space, a major European satellite operator. LeoStella’s factory is located in Tukwila, Washington, downtown Seattle.
BlackSky, with offices in Seattle and Herndon, Virginia, deploys small, remote -controlled fleets to provide high -quality global images to consumers and the government.
A major customer for BlackSky, with offices near Seattle and in Washington, DC, metro area, is the U.S. military and intelligence offices. BlackSky has agreed to sell commercial images to NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Going on a mission this weekend, BlackSky released 13 global optical sensors from 2018, following the start of 2016 with the company’s first digital display technology.
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