Sunday , September 26 2021

Rocket Lab launches new U.S. Air Force space force


Rocket Lab has successfully launched its latest Electron rocket for its U.S. Air Force client’s new space force, from Mahia’s 1st launch complex.

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The launch, which took place at 6 p.m., was the first since the May 15 failure of the “Running Out of Toes” flight, which was recently fixed in a failure with the system’s ignition system. second stage of the Electron rocket.

The flight was crucial for Rocket Lab, which will try to achieve at least one more successful mission ahead of its listing on the Nasdaq, which was expected before the end of September.

The client was the United States Air Force, which shuns so much frivolity, specifically the new division of the United States Space Force (USSF) of the USAF, installed under former President Donald Trump.

The mission deployed a demonstration satellite sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory called Monolith, Rocket Lab.

In a recent Business Hub interview, Peter Beck reiterated that his company only launches research satellites or “demonstrators” for the military and draws the line of military operational satellites. The CEO also reiterated his argument that people have benefited from the dual-use technologies originally developed for the military, including GPS, Internet and weather satellites.

Rocket Lab said the Space Force “Monolith” satellite will explore and demonstrate the use of a drop-down sensor, where the mass of the sensor is a substantial fraction of the total mass of the spacecraft, changing the dynamic properties of the spacecraft and the test capability to maintain the spacecraft. attitude control. The analysis of the use of a drop-down sensor aims to allow the use of smaller satellite buses when building future drop-down sensors, such as weather satellites, thus reducing the cost, the complexity and timelines of development. The satellite will also provide a platform to test future space protection capabilities. “

Photo / Rocket Lab
Photo / Rocket Lab

The mission was acquired by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Space Testing Program (STP) and the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP), both based at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. – and in collaboration with the Defense Innovation Unit (IUD) as part of the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative (RALI), Rocket Lab said.

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck says his company is marking the line in military-operational launches and will only organize missions for research satellites.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck says his company marks the line in military operational launches and will only organize missions for research satellites. Photo / Dean Purcell

The mission is being managed by the Launch Enterprise Launch and Objectives Division, which is part of the USSF launch organization.

The mission has been named “It’s a Little Chile Up Here” in “a gesture of encouragement to the beloved green Chile of New Mexico where the Space Testing Program is based.”

“It’s a Little Chile Up Here” will be Rocket Lab’s fourth release of the year and Electron’s 21st overall release.

The mission has been relocated to New Zealand’s Launch Complex 1, while NASA is continuing with the autonomous flight termination system certification processes for LC -2 launches, Rocket Lab said.

Beck told the Herald that the Rocket Lab’s largest Neutron rocket will be launched exclusively from the 2nd launch complex in Virginia from 2024, lifting constellations of satellites into space for the Department of Defense. USA and commercial customers.

“The neutron will initially be launched outside the United States for industrial reasons,” Beck said.

“To give you an idea of ​​the scale, if we took all the liquid oxygen that was produced in New Zealand, we would only fill half the tank, let alone the rest of the types of logistics associated with these very, very large releases. . vehicles “.

Beck said most of the launches of the smaller Electron rocket would still be from Mahia.

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