[Update: Launched!] Rocket Lab prepares for next Electron launch, ‘They Go Up So Fast’

Rocket Lab is preparing for the 19th Mission of their Electron later today, at 6:30 pm Eastern time. This rideshare launch, “They Go Up So Fast”, will deliver 7 satellites into orbit for customers including BlackSky, the University of New South Wales, and the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense command.

Whats on board Electron?

  • Photon Pathstone
    • A demonstration of Rocket Lab’s in-house platform for satellites in low earth orbit. This pathstone is testing the technology in support of Rocket Lab’s mission to the moon for NASA.
  • BlackSky Global Series
    • A high-resolution earth imaging satellite. Artificial intelligence will be used to analyze the imagery captured.
  • Centauri 3
    • One part of Fleet Space’s planned 140 satellite internet of things constellation. This satellite is also testing various sensor and exploration techniques in support of future missions to the moon and beyond.
  • Myriota 7
    • A satellite to expand coverage of Myriota’s internet of things network coverage.
  • Veery Hatchling
    • A satellite for Care Weather testing their vertically integrated power and avionics solution.
  • M2
    • A satellite for the University of New South Wales Canberra Space with capabilities including Earth observation and maritime surveillance.
  • Gunsmoke-J
    • An Experimental satellite for the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command to assist in the development of new capabilities for the US Army.

Notably, Rocket Lab’s Photon will deploy the final satellite to an orbit of 450km, following the deployment of the other satellites at a 550km circular orbit.

Mission patch for ‘They Go Up So Fast’. Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab’s 18-meter Electron rocket is much smaller than most other orbital rockets, but this allows them to focus on small satellites and low costs. Earlier this year, Rocket Lab announced a larger Medium lift launch vehicle, Neutron, as a Mega constellation launcher. Neutron is still a few years away, and even once it debuts Electron will still be a great option for smaller missions like this.

Those in New Zealand can watch the launch in person, but Rocket Lab also has a live broadcast. More details on the launch can be found here.

Electron’s Launch Sequence

5:50pm ET: Rocket Lab has Reached T-40 Minutes to launch.

6:20pm ET: Rocket Lab Launch Team Confirmed the teams are GO for launch.

6:29pm ET: Electron has entered terminal count.

6:31pm ET: Nominal Ignition and Liftoff of Electron from Launch Complex 1.

Liftoff of They Go Up So Fast. Credit: Rocket Lab

At T+54:56 the first of the payloads will be deployed. Following two more Curie engine burns, the final payload will be deployed at T+1:49:00.

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