7:58 pm and update: Rocket Lab The Electron launch attempt has been suspended tonight Due to high upper level winds from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The next missile attempt will continue Monday, December 19During a 2-hour window running from 6-8pm EST (2300-0100 Dec. 20 GMT).
After years of launching rockets from New Zealand, commercial space company Rocket Lab is ready for its American launch.
Based in California Rocket Lab It will launch its first mission from US soil today (Dec. 18) from its new launch pad 2 at NASA. Wallops Flight Facility On Wallops Island, Virginia. Task, using a Electron rocket A two-hour window will open at 6pm EST (2300 GMT) to launch three HawkEye 360 satellites into orbit and you can watch it for free in the window above. Rocket Lab will begin its launch webcast 40 minutes before liftoff.
“Obviously, this is a significant milestone for Rocket Lab,” CEO Peter Beck told reporters on Dec. 14. “It’s great to be at this point.” Rocket Lab Initially targeted for a December 13 releaseBut liftoff was pushed back to complete additional checks, weather and final flight paperwork.
Related: The rocket lab’s 1st US launch will be seen on the East Coast on December 18
Rocket Lab Launch View!
Millions on the East Coast can watch the 1st US launch of a rocket lab! Here’s where and when to visit. If you see it, let us know with photos and comments [email protected]!
Dubbed “Virginia is for Launch Lovers” (a play on the state’s tourism slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers”), Sunday’s debut will mark the start of a new era of flexibility for the rocket lab. . The company worked with NASA to oversee commercial launches from Wallops and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Station to develop the new pad.
So far, the rocket lab has used two of its pads for flybys at its Launch Complex 1 on the coast of New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. A U.S. launch pad would allow the company to launch missions for customers that require U.S.-based output, such as government or military customers. Beck said.
Rocket Lab opened its Launch Complex 2 It was scheduled to launch its first mission from there in 2019 and initially in 2020. But that first flight was delayed by two years due to delays in the development of NASA’s new autonomous flight landing system. . Rocket Lab uses a version of NASA’s autonomous landing system, which it calls Pegasus, for its Electron flights.
David Pearce, director of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, told reporters that the bugs were discovered in NASA’s software, and the space agency’s U.S. Space Force And the Federal Aviation Authority, blamed for the delay. NASA and the FAA completed system certification ahead of Sunday’s launch attempt and signed final launch documents on Saturday (Dec. 17).
“It’s not a difficult endeavor to get us to this point, and I consider it a turning point in the launch range process, not only at Wallops, but across the United States,” Pierce said.
The rocket lab’s Virginia is for Launch Lovers mission is the first of three flights for Virginia-based Hawkeye 360, a company that builds a suite of small satellites for radio frequency monitoring. Under the multi-launch contract that Hawkeye 360 struck in April, the rocket lab will send 15 small satellites into orbit by 2024.
“These missions will grow HawkEye 360’s suite of radio frequency monitoring satellites and enable the company to better provide accurate mapping of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world,” Rocket Lab wrote. Job description (opens in new tab).
We’re picking up some big things for Electron this week: ✅ First mission from US soil ✅ First mission for @hawkeye360 ✅ First mission with autonomous flight landing system in Wallops Virginia NET Dec. 15 is for lovers of flying. Stay tuned for weather updates. pic.twitter.com/P7Dlq0X01hDecember 13, 2022
The rocket lab eventually aims to launch one electron mission a month from its Wallops pad. The company is also constructing a new building, A large reusable rocket called Neutron It will also be launched from an American launch pad. The first flight of that rocket is expected before 2024.
Beck said the rocket lab’s launch team has already learned from processing its first mission in wallops (rocket components shipped in a container) and that the basics of building a new US paddle rocket will go into the new Neutron. project. The Rocket Lab is also building a neutron rocket manufacturing facility in Virginia.
“I think, you know, there’s a lot of learning from that,” Beck said. “The next few launches will be significantly more streamlined.”
But for now, he said, the Electron should ace its first flight.
“The rocket is ready, it’s on the pad,” Beck said. “The team is ready, it’s time to fly.”
Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] or follow him @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab). Follow us @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab), Facebook (opens in new tab) And Instagram (opens in new tab).