BlackSky to launch 9 more satellites on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket

On the success of Rocket Lab’s most recent mission “They Go Up So Fast” the California-based launch provider announced that it will launch more global monitoring satellites for BlackSky. This is the biggest number of satellites the company has committed to launching to a single provider so far.

With the rise of SmallSats being the leading need in the satellite market, Rocket Lab has been able to capitalize on that need. With its Electron rocket, it can provide rapid, cheap, and dedicated missions to meet the customer’s need. With the new multi-launch contract they signed with BlackSky, this will add 5 more launches to their already busy manifest.

The multi-launch agreement with launch services provider Spaceflight Inc., who will manage the integration and launch services for BlackSky, includes the launch of nine BlackSky satellites across five Electron missions this year. The deal represents the largest number of satellites BlackSky has committed to a single launch provider to date and includes the successful launch of BlackSky’s latest spacecraft on Rocket Lab’s “They Go Up So Fast” rideshare mission earlier this week.  

Eight of BlackSky’s 130 kg class satellites will be launched across four dedicated missions on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle throughout 2021 in a demonstration of rapidly-acquired launch services. This responsive launch capability supports the aggressive scaling of BlackSky’s satellite constellation to meet the demand for real-time global monitoring and analysis services for public and private organizations. These satellites will join three existing BlackSky satellites launched by Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle across 2019 and on the most recent mission this week. The agreement also includes options for an additional two dedicated missions on Electron in Q4 2021.  

Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says Electron’s dedicated launch service provides the reliability and speed to space that is critical for companies like BlackSky building out their satellite constellations and growing their businesses. 

“We’re thrilled to be providing dedicated and reliable access to orbit for Spaceflight and its customer BlackSky. Electron puts our customers in control of their launch schedule and orbital deployment parameters, giving them more certainty in crucial business growth phases,” said Mr. Beck. “By securing streamlined space access on Electron, BlackSky can focus on what matters most to their mission – providing real-time, actionable data to decision makers on the ground when they need it most.”

Via Rocket Lab
“They Go Up So Fast” launching from LC-1 Pad A in New Zealand. Credit: Rocket Lab

This will add to Rocket Lab’s already busy launch manifest, with an upcoming back-to-back launch at their launch complex in New Zealand for the Department of Defense and a lunar mission for NASA’s Artemis program. With this contract, Rocket Lab could hit double digits in 2021 launch numbers for the first time since it debuted the Electron back in 2017.


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