Saturday, 23 January, 2021


Rocket Lab returns to flight less than two months after launch failure

Rocket Lab returns to flight with a successful launch of a Capella Space satellite		
		
	Darrell Etherington

			@etherington	 
		7 hours Rocket Lab returns to flight with a successful launch of a Capella Space satellite Darrell Etherington @etherington 7 hours
Kristine Garrett | 02 September, 2020, 17:26

After several weather-related delays, Rocket Lab's latest launch was successful, with lift-off at 3.05pm today.

But there was no repeat on Monday when its thirteenth orbital launch from the Māhia Peninsula near Gisborne went without hitch.

The Electron booster's payload was the "Sequoia" satellite from San Francisco-based Capella Space. Electron is the ideal launch vehicle for missions like this one, where the success of a foundational deployment relies heavily on a high level of control over orbit and schedule.

The satellite is created to use a sensitive form of radar - synthetic aperture radar (SAR) - to build up 3D scans of the Earth's surface that are capable of detecting the movement of objects as small as 50 centimetres in diameter, even under cloud cover or at night. "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", Rocket Lab wrote.

Rocket Lab gives Stuff exclusive access to its Auckland factory as it launches New Zealand's first space apprenticeship. The Sequoia satellite is the first in startup Capella Space's constellation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites to be available to general customers. The team's investigation revealed a component of the system that was not stress-tested as strenuously as it should've been, and Rocket Lab immediately instituted a fix for both future and existing in-stock Electron vehicles in order to get back to active flight in as little time as possible.

"I'm also immensely proud of the team, their hard work, and dedication in returning Electron to the pad safely and quickly", said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck.

Rocket Lab is back to active launch status after encountering an issue with its last mission that resulted in a loss of the payload.

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