The OHB mission named ‘Another One Leaves the Crust’ is scheduled for lift-off during a 10-day launch window opening on January 16th, Rocket Lab said. The Electron will carry a communication microsatellite built by OHB based in Germany, Sweden, and Czech Republic.
The mission will launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula to an initial elliptical orbit, before Electron’s Kick Stage will perform a series of burns with its relightable Curie engine to raise apogee and act as a space tug to deliver the payload to its precise orbital destination, Rocket Lab said. Following payload deployment, the Kick Stage will perform a de-orbit burn to lower its perigee where it will experience greater atmospheric drag, enabling it to re-enter and burn up faster to avoid becoming space junk.
Rocket Lab will not be attempting to recover Electron’s first stage for this mission.
‘Another One Leaves the Crust’ is the first mission in a “packed launch manifest” for 2021, the company said, which includes multiple dedicated and rideshare small satellite missions for both government and commercial customers.
This year will also see Rocket Lab launch a Photon mission to the Moon in support of NASA’s CAPSTONE program, and also launch the first missions from Rocket Lab’s two additional launch pads – Launch Complex 2 in Wallops, Virginia, and the new Pad B at Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.