Pull! Rocket Lab fires off another potential target as India joins exclusive satellite shooting club

www.theregister.co.uk | 4/1/2019 | Staff
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Roundup While US vice president Mike Pence directed NASA to put boots on the Moon before Trump's second term 2024 is out, last week demonstrated how hard space can be.

After repeated delays, Rocket Lab, proclaimer of the slogan "Frequent and reliable launch is now a reality", successfully got another Electron off its New Zealand launch pad.

Launch - March - UTC - Outfit - Satellite

The launch, at 23:27 28 March UTC, marked the outfit's 25th satellite delivered to orbit and the fourth successful launch of the company's Electron rocket (the first had to be destroyed after telemetry was lost during flight).

The 150kg payload, DARPA's Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2) mission, is designed to qualify a new type of array antenna. This antenna, which will deploy to 2.25 metres in diameter, should allow smaller spacecraft to punch above their weight in terms of communication capability.

Launch - Months - Rocket - Lab - Company

While this is the first launch in over three months from Rocket Lab, the company is bullish about upping the cadence, and lays claim to an order book for a launch every four weeks.

It's a challenging goal since this mission sat on the pad for four days while engineers replaced a video component and waited for weather to improve.

Rocket - Lab - CEO - Founder - Peter

Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck was naturally pleased as punch, delivering kudos to his team of rocketeers: "Congratulations to our dedicated team for delivering another important and innovative asset to space – on time and on target."

The 17m Electron rocket can loft as much as 225kg, although the company describes the "nominal" payload as being 150kg, which can be delivered to a 500km Sun-synchronous orbit.

Gang - Proud - Launch - Cadence - Citizens

While the gang are proud of their yet-to-be-shown launch cadence, they're also good citizens when it comes to orbital debris. The second stage of the Electron was left in a highly elliptical orbit, which will cause it to re-enter the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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