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Rocket Lab Launch Operations Underway For Two BlackSky Missions in November


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he launches, Rocket Lab’s 22nd and 23rd Electron missions, are part of a multi-launch deal that represents the largest number of satellites BlackSky has committed to a single launch provider.

Long Beach, California. October 11, 2021 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced it has scheduled two dedicated launches in November for Spaceflight Inc.’s customer, real-time geospatial and global monitoring company BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY).

A two-week launch window for Rocket Lab’s 22nd Electron launch will open November 11-24, 2021, while the 23rd Electron mission is targeted for lift-off during a two-week launch window that opens November 27. Both missions are scheduled to launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Each mission will deploy two Gen-2 satellites for BlackSky in a rapid expansion of the geospatial and global monitoring company’s low Earth orbit constellation. These two dedicated missions are part of a multi-launch agreement signed between Rocket Lab and Spaceflight Inc., for BlackSky earlier this year, and precede a third dedicated mission that will follow to deploy two additional BlackSky Gen-2 satellites. Together, these launches - along with a successfully deployed Gen-2 satellite on Rocket Lab’s “They Go Up So Fast” rideshare mission in March this year - represent the largest number of satellites BlackSky has committed to a single launch provider to date.

The back-to-back launch of these two dedicated missions supports BlackSky’s aggressive scaling of its high-resolution Earth-imaging constellation to bolster its delivery of analytics and insights to industries including transportation, infrastructure, land use, defense, supply chain management, and humanitarian aid.

“The speed to space Electron provides our customers is unmatched in the dedicated small launch industry, and we’re thrilled to be delivering a launch service that provides assurance for BlackSky to scale their constellation and services with confidence,” says Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck.

Follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab for real-time mission updates closer to launch day.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements, including without limitation expectations regarding the timing of scheduled launches, are based on Rocket Lab’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (many of which are beyond Rocket Lab’s control), or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including risks related to the global COVID-19 pandemic, including risks related to government restrictions and lock-downs in New Zealand and other countries in which we operate that could delay or suspend our operations; delays and disruptions in expansion efforts; our dependence on a limited number of customers; the harsh and unpredictable environment of space in which our products operate which could adversely affect our launch vehicle and spacecraft; increased congestion from the proliferation of low Earth orbit constellations which could materially increase the risk of potential collision with space debris or another spacecraft and limit or impair our launch flexibility and/or access to our own orbital slots; increased competition in our industry due in part to rapid technological development and decreasing costs; technological change in our industry which we may not be able to keep up with or which may render our services uncompetitive; average selling price trends; failure of our satellites to operate as intended either due to our error in design in production or through no fault of our own; launch schedule disruptions; supply chain disruptions, product delays or failures; design and engineering flaws; launch failures; natural disasters and epidemics or pandemics; changes in governmental regulations including with respect to trade and export restrictions, or in the status of our regulatory approvals or applications; or other events that force us to cancel or reschedule launches, including customer contractual rescheduling and termination rights,  and the other risks detailed from time to time in Rocket Lab’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere (including that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may also exacerbate the risks discussed therein). There can be no assurance that the future developments affecting Rocket Lab will be those that we have anticipated. Except as required by law, Rocket Lab is not undertaking any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Quelle: Rocket Lab


Update: 1.11.2021


Rocket Lab launch: Helicopter prepares for reusable rocket catching off Mahia coast


Rocket Lab's launch complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula. Photo / Rocket Lab


Rocket Lab's next launch from Mahia in just over a week will involve a reusable rocket.

The United States-based space company says the next mission would be its third ocean recovery mission, bringing Electron's first stage back to Earth under a parachute before a soft landing in the ocean where a team of engineers will be stationed to retrieve it, haul it onboard their vessel, and bring it back to Rocket Lab's production complex for inspection.

For the first time a helicopter will be involved in the operations offshore and will simulate catching a returning rocket in preparation for future mid-air recovery missions.

The mission — called Love At First Insight — is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 1 in Mahia during a 14-day launch window that opens on November 11.

The mission's primary objective is to deploy two Earth-observation satellites for global monitoring company BlackSky, with the secondary objective to splash down and recover Electron's first stage to further validate Rocket Lab's recovery operations and hardware.

"We've perfected Electron's controlled descent, demonstrated flawless parachute deployment and successfully plucked stages from the ocean," Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said.

"Now we're gearing up for the next stage — preparing to use a helicopter to catch a rocket as it descends to Earth from space.

"It's ambitious but with each recovery mission we've iterated and refined the hardware and processes to make the impossible ordinary.

"I'm excited to take what we learn from this launch and put it into practice with aerial capture missions in future."

Rocket Lab will be tracking the stage's descent from space and as it approaches 19,000 feet (5.7 kilometres) from the ocean surface, a helicopter will be dispatched to conduct reconnaissance of the returning booster.

The Love At First Insight mission will also feature new recovery hardware developments to Electron, including an advanced parachute to be deployed from the first stage at a higher altitude, allowing for a slower drift back to Earth to test communications and tracking for future aerial recovery.

Electron also features improvements to the first stage heat shield which protects its nine Rutherford engines while they endure up to 2200-degree heat and incredible pressure on the descent back to Earth.

Quelle: Hawke´s Bay Today


Update: 18.11.2021


Start von Rocket Lab Launch Operations Underway For Two BlackSky Missions






































Quelle: Rocket Lab


Rocket Lab says helicopter tracking mission - a precursor to a future mid-catch - a success










Quelle: Rocket Lab

Can a helicopter catch a rocket booster as it falls back to Earth under parachute - or at least complete a tracking exercise that brings it a step closer to reality?

One of those questions was answered this afternoon when Rocket Lab's "Love at First Insight" rocket launched into space and deployed its payload successfully, following two delays over the past week for bad weather.

On board a helicopter, an excited Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck proudly tweeted: "Splash down of the stage confirmed. Helicopter has eyes on it."


His company added in a statement soon after: "Rocket Lab successfully introduced helicopter operations to a recovery mission for the first time, using a helicopter to observe and track the Electron rocket's first stage as it descended to Earth under parachute as part of the company's programme to make Electron the world's first reusable, orbital-class commercial small rocket."

This was the first time a helicopter had tracked and observed Electron's descent. The shadowing exercise is in preparation for future missions which aim to use helicopters to intercept and capture returning rocket boosters mid-air as they return to Earth under parachute.

A Rocket Lab drill in April last year saw a helicopter successfully capture a mock Electron first-stage as it fell. The Kiwi-American company has yet to set a date for testing the real thing.

Today's launch used a new parachute system designed for a slower descent. That will make the eventual bid at a mid-air helicopter retrieval easier.

And a mid-air retrieval will minimise wear-and-tear, maximising the chances that an Electron first-stage will be launched again and Rocket Lab join SpaceX as one of only two space transportation companies with a reusable rocket.

"Love at First Insight" carried two satellites into low Earth orbit for BlackSky - the first of a series of five missions for the NYSE-listed surveillance company.

The launch came a few days after Rocket Lab reported another big financial loss amid the pandemic, but also a pipeline of forward contracts that has swelled to US$237 million.
The company's share price last traded on the Nasdaq at US$16.50, valuing the company just shy of $7 billion.

Each launch has more frisson now that Rocket Lab is listed on the Nasdaq.

A helicopter completed a successful mid-air retrieval of a mockup Electron first-stage as it parachuted toward the ocean in April 2020. Photo / Supplied
A helicopter completed a successful mid-air retrieval of a mockup Electron first-stage as it parachuted toward the ocean in April 2020. Photo / Supplied

The stock has climbed 63 per cent since its August listing.

An Electron being fished out of the sea after a November 2020 launch. All going well, "Love at First Insight" will be Rocket Lab's third ocean retrieval. Photo / SuppliedAn Electron being fished out of the sea after a November 2020 launch. All going well, "Love at First Insight" will be Rocket Lab's third ocean retrieval. Photo / Supplied

Despite pandemic disruption pushing Rocket Lab to a wider loss this year, investors have cheered developments including a fatter pipeline of contracts, an expansion of space systems manufacturing capacity, its US$45m acquisition of Colorado mission simulation and guidance system maker Advanced Solutions, and Rocket Lab securing US$24.35 million ($34m) in US military funding towards development of its much larger Neutron rocket.



Rocket Lab Launches 107th Satellite To Orbit, Successfully Tests Helicopter Recovery Operations

Mahia, New Zealand. 18 November 2021 – Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, has successfully deployed two satellites to orbit for real-time geospatial monitoring company BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY). Rocket Lab also successfully introduced helicopter operations to a recovery mission for the first time, using a helicopter to observe and track the Electron rocket’s first stage as it descended to Earth under parachute as part of the company’s program to make Electron the world’s first reusable, orbital-class commercial small rocket.

The ‘Love At First Insight’ mission, arranged for BlackSky through launch services provider Spaceflight Inc., was Electron’s 22nd lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Following lift-off at 01:38 UTC, 18 November 2021, Electron successfully delivered the two BlackSky Gen-2 Earth-imaging satellites to a circular 430km orbit, growing BlackSky’s constellation of real-time geospatial monitoring spacecraft and bringing the total number of satellites deployed by Rocket Lab to 107.

Today’s mission also included a controlled ocean splashdown and recovery of Electron’s first stage. For the first time, Rocket Lab stationed a helicopter in the recovery zone around 200 nautical miles offshore to track and observe the descending stage in preparation for future aerial capture attempts. The helicopter successfully tracked the returning rocket and completed communications tests in the recovery zone, bringing Rocket Lab a step closer to catching a rocket from the sky, bringing it back to the production complex for refurbishment, and then launching it to space again.

Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, says: “Today’s launch was a masterclass from an incredible team of engineers on how to successfully deliver customers’ satellites to space while at the same time demonstrating cutting-edge operations and innovation that pushes the space industry forward on small rocket reusability. This is our third successful proof of concept recovery mission, and further cements Electron as the leading launch vehicle for the small satellite market. We are all excited to move onto the next phase of reusability next year; catching Electron in the air with a helicopter.”

The ‘Love At First Insight’ mission was the latest launch for BlackSky as part of a multi-launch agreement to deploy numerous BlackSky satellites on Electron. Five BlackSky satellites have now been successfully deployed to low Earth orbit so far on missions across 2019 and this year. As part of the deal, another two BlackSky satellites are scheduled for launch on Rocket Lab’s next Electron mission named “A Data With Destiny”, which is scheduled to launch during a 14-day launch window that opens in December. Today’s successfully deployed satellites, along with those previously launched to space by Rocket Lab and the remaining four satellites next in line, represent the largest number of satellites BlackSky has dedicated to a single launch provider to date.

Quelle: Rocket Lab

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