Edinburgh, 30 July 2021. – Rocket Lab has launched the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) research and development satellite into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The mission was one of Rocket Lab’s over 100 satellite launches, its fourth launch for the year and its 21st Electron mission, the company said.
Monolith, a demonstration satellite sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, was deployed by the Electron launch vehicle.
The mission, ‘It’s a Little Chile Up Here’, was named after the green chile of New Mexico as the Space Test Program is based there.
The launch itself took place on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 at 06:00 UTC / 18:00 NZT on July 29th.
Monolith will demonstrate how a deployable sensor can change the spacecraft’s dynamic properties and testing ability to maintain spacecraft attitude control. Analysis from the mission aims to reduce the size of payload infrastructure of deployable sensors, like weather satellites. This way the cost, complexity, and development timelines can also be cut down for future missions, Rocket Lab said.