Rocket Lab will launch three satellites for Earth observation startup BlackSky in approximately a month, marking the business’s quickest launch cadence to date.
Rocket Lab announced on August 10 that the three launches would occur from New Zealand between late August and the close of September, as part of the multi-launch arrangement agreed with BlackSky and organized via launch services supplier Spaceflight early this year. Two Gen-2 BlackSky imaging spacecraft will be carried on each flight.
The first of the contract’s launches were in May. However, the 2 BlackSky spacecraft on board got lost when the upper stage of rocket failed. With a US Space Force satellite launch on July 29, Rocket Lab brought Electron back into action.
At the period of the May deployment failure, Brian O’Toole, BlackSky’s CEO, the firm had spacecrafts ready to launch and an “active production line” of satellites being made by LeoStella. He stated that the company would stay “on track to fulfill our business objectives” as it prepares to go public via a merger with the special-purpose acquisition entity.
“Over the last several months, we’ve been working closely with Rocket Lab to establish great confidence in a launch strategy that will expand the capability of our space network,” O’Toole stated in a statement. “This rapid launch cadence indicates our ability to grow our network at a faster rate and reaffirms our dedication to providing intelligence and real-time data.”
In a statement, Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, said, “Rapid launch with these 3 back-to-back missions facilitates BlackSky to be able to fast-track their initiatives for a constellation that fulfills the thirst for real-time data generated by numerous images within 24 hours, instead of one image at the very same time each day.”
If the three launches go according to plan, Rocket Lab will have exhibited the fastest cadence it has ever demonstrated. Between late October as well as mid-December 2020, Rocket Lab launched three Electron rockets.
Rocket Lab has been developing on the second pad at the Launch Complex 1 situated in New Zealand to facilitate a faster launch rate. Rocket Lab is yet to utilize the second pad, and it did not say whether any of the three forthcoming launches would occur from it in its statement. According to Murielle Baker, the spokesperson of Rocket Lab, the first launch will occur from existing Pad A, and the business is “currently working via pad selection for the others.”