Rocket Lab to launch BlackSky satellites from New Zealand

Long Beach, CA-based Rocket Lab USA, Inc announced on March 17 that it will launch a pair of satellites on a dedicated Electron mission for BlackSky through global launch services provider Spaceflight, Inc., during a launch window opening March 22, 2023 UTC.

The mission, named “The Beat Goes On,” will launch two of BlackSky’s Gen-2 Earth-imaging satellites from Pad B at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand and will bring the total number of satellites delivered by Electron to orbit to 159. Electron will deliver the satellites to a circular 450KM orbit, which will bring the total number of satellites in BlackSky’s constellation to 16.

As a secondary mission, Rocket Lab plans to recover Electron’s first stage after it parachutes back to Earth and splashes down in the ocean. Rocket Lab’s recovery team will retrieve Electron using a customized vessel and transport the stage back to Rocket Lab’s production complex for analysis. Data from this recovered stage will inform Rocket Lab’s ongoing recovery and reuse program.

Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive Peter Beck said, “We’re proud to continue playing a key role in building out BlackSky’s growing constellation. We’ve now delivered 9 satellites to orbit for BlackSky since our first launch for them in 2019 and we’re grateful to have been entrusted with their mission once again. Counting down to another mission just six days after a successful launch from LC-2 in Virginia is no mean feat and testament to our team’s experience and dedication to delivering response launch.”

The pair of high-resolution, multi-spectral, Gen-2 satellites to be launched on Electron will expand BlackSky’s network in space and its offering of real-time geospatial intelligence and monitoring services. BlackSky combines high-resolution images captured by its constellation of microsatellites with its proprietary artificial intelligence software to deliver analytics and insights to industries including transportation, infrastructure, land use, defense, supply chain management, and humanitarian aid.

Source: Rocket Lab

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