Ibadan, 1 February 2024. – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has launched its first Electron mission for 2024, a “space-junk focused” mission for Spire Global, Inc. and NorthStar Earth & Space. The ‘Four Of A Kind’ mission for Spire’s customer NorthStar successfully launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket deployed four Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites to a 530km circular Earth orbit where the satellites. In this orbit, they will monitor near-Earth objects from space to provide timely and precise information for space object detection, tracking, orbit determination, collision avoidance, navigation, and proximity alerts.
Speaking on the launch, Stewart Bain, CEO and Founder of NorthStar, specially thanked the NorthStar team, its stakeholders, and partners at Rocket Lab, Spire, and ExoLaunch. He also added, “Now, the work begins at NorthStar to deliver the services to our eagerly awaiting clients. Our industry can start now to change the way we manage our essential space environment.”
The mission also resulted in the successful return of the rocket’s first stage after launch as part of Rocket Lab’s plan to evolve the Electron into a reusable rocket. After launch and stage separation, Electron’s booster made its way back to Earth under a parachute and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at approximately 17 minutes post-lift-off.
The mission was Rocket Lab’s 43rd Electron launch overall, and the CEO, Peter Beck, commented about the launch, saying: “The success of today’s mission to deliver Spire & NorthStar to orbit, and the completion of our secondary mission to return Electron to Earth after launch, has been a fantastic start of what is set to be Rocket Lab’s busiest year ever.”