Rocket Lab launched their Electron rocket for its second launch of 2019. In its sixth general mission, Electron launched the SPARC-1, Falcon ODE, and Harbinger satellites into orbit, as a part of the Area Take a look at Program (STP). The launch occurred at 6:00 UTC, from Rocket Lab Launch Advanced 1 (LC-1) in New Zealand, following a day’s delay for added payload checks.
Like all Electron missions, the rocket itself has obtained a particular title. This rocket is called That’s a Humorous Wanting Cactus, for the deserts of New Mexico – the place the STP relies.
The mission patch for Electron’s newest mission – by way of Rocket Lab
The STP is a part of the US Division of Protection (DoD), and ensures that potential launch and satellite tv for pc platform suppliers will be capable to meet the wants of presidency prospects.
The payloads for this mission – SPARC-1, Falcon ODE, and Harbinger – are three tech demonstration satellites. Collectively, STP-27RD made for the heaviest payload launched on Electron up to now – over 180kg.
To insert the satellites right into a exact orbit, this mission included Rocket Lab’s Curie engine-powered kick stage. The particular orbit has not been made public, though it’s recognized to be a Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Payload integration in Electron’s fairing, which occurred on April 30. Credit score: Rocket Lab.
SPARC-1 is a joint Swedish-American challenge, sponsored by the Air Power Analysis Laboratory Area Automobiles Directorate (AFRL/RV). It should check miniaturized avionics, software program radio programs, and carries a visual gentle digital camera to review area situational consciousness ideas. It’s a 6U CubeSat, and can be capable to swap communication frequencies when wanted.
Falcon ODE is sponsored by the US Air Power Academy and can help in testing ground-based monitoring of area objects. It’s a 1U CubeSat – solely 10cm throughout on each facet, the definition of a “U” for CubeSats – and can launch two metal ball bearings to check and calibrate floor monitoring units.
Harbinger is a small industrial satellite tv for pc constructed by York Area Programs and can exhibit that York’s S-CLASS satellite tv for pc platform – and small satellites typically – can meet the wants of a authorities buyer.
At round 150kg, it was the heaviest payload ever launched on Electron – and made up many of the 180kg complete mission mass. It carried an X-band Artificial Aperture Radar (SAR), which may present Earth commentary information at any time – no matter cloud cowl.
The Harbinger satellite tv for pc. Credit score: York Area Programs.
The Electron launch countdown started at T-6 hours, when the street to the launch web site was closed off. At T-Four hours, the automobile was raised vertical by the strongback, and stuffed with RP-1 gas. Launch pad personnel left the realm at T-2 hours 30 minutes, and liquid oxygen (LOX) loading started at T-2 hours.
At T-18 minutes, the launch director in mission management performed a go/no-go ballot of all of the flight controllers, to make sure that the Electron, launch pad, and payloads are prepared for launch.
At T-2 minutes, Electron’s computer systems took over and initiated the launch sequence.
“That’s a Humorous Wanting Cactus” on the launch pad for a Moist Costume Rehearsal – primarily a fueling and mock countdown check. Credit score: Rocket Lab
The 9 3D-printed Rutherford engines on Electron’s first stage ignited at T-2 seconds – and after a fast examine of auto programs – Electron lifted off at T-0.
LAUNCH! Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket launches on the STP-27RD mission.
Play By Play:https://t.co/FbI6i2dEnD pic.twitter.com/fKuQ7P1iAA
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) Might 5, 2019
Fundamental Engine Cutoff (MECO) occurred at T+2 minutes 34 seconds, when the 9 Rutherford engines shut down. Three seconds later, the primary and second phases separated and the second stage’s Rutherford Vacuum engine ignited. The payload fairing separated at T+Three minutes eight seconds – because the automobile has left the environment.
Electron reached orbit at T+eight minutes 51 seconds, and Second Engine Cutoff (SECO) happens 4 seconds later. The Curie-powered kick stage – with the three payloads on high – separated at T+eight minutes 59 seconds.
The Curie engine ignited for an almost 3-minute burn at T+49 minutes 12 seconds, and cuts off at T+51 minutes 55 seconds.
The payloads separate at T+54 minutes 14 seconds. The kick stage will then deorbit itself, to reduce the quantity of particles left in orbit.
2019 will probably be a busy 12 months for Rocket Lab. They presently anticipate to launch round 16 missions – not counting STP-27RD – all through the remainder of this 12 months.
See AlsoElectron STP-27RD UPDATESRocket Lab Electron Discussion board SectionL2 Grasp SectionClick right here to Be a part of L2Additionally, in September they may have their maiden launch from LC-2, a brand new Electron launch pad being constructed at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This new pad will probably be devoted to flying lower-inclination LEO missions, which LC-1 can’t. LC-2, nonetheless, is anticipated to have a a lot decrease flight fee than LC-1.
Rocket Lab can be anticipating to have the debut launch of their Photon satellite tv for pc bus, derived from the Electron’s kick stage, within the fourth quarter of 2019 from LC-1.
The subsequent launch for Rocket Lab is anticipated to be a devoted Planet Labs flight, launching 6 of their Dove imagery satellites to LEO No Earlier Than (NET) Might 2019.