Rocket Lab has continued the success of its 2018 orbital launch program with the launch of seven payloads to orbit on 11 November 2018. The mission, named ‘It’s Business Time,’ marks Rocket Lab’s second successful orbital launch and deployment of customer satellites.
Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle lifted-off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 16:50 on 11 November 2018 NZDT (03:50 UTC). After first reaching orbit on Electron’s second stage, the Curie kick stage successfully separated and circularized its orbit before deploying six satellites for customers Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies and the Irvine CubeSat Stem Program. Curie also carried NABEO, a drag sail technology demonstrator, designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH, to passively de-orbit inactive small satellites and reduce space junk.
Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck says the mission marks a new era in access to space.
“The world is waking up to the new normal. With the Electron launch vehicle, rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites,” says Beck.
“We’re thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying more payloads. The team carried out a flawless flight with incredibly precise orbital insertion,” he says.
Rocket Lab is poised for high-frequency launches in 2019 thanks to production facilities that enable rapid mass Electron production, as well as a private launch complex licensed to launch up to 120 times per year.
“With two orbital launches down for 2018, we’re not resting on our laurels. We have a burgeoning customer manifest, so we’re moving onto the next mission within a few weeks – the incredibly exciting ELaNa 19 mission for NASA in December.”