Successful liftoff of Rocket Lab's Electron with seven satellites into orbit

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Rocket Lab's Electron rocket successfully lifted off at 1:27 UTC from New Zealand with seven satellites in orbit on the mission. Baby Come Back. Which is part of the company's rocket recovery program.

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Rocket Lab "Baby Come Back" mission patch.

Shared flight

In its thirty-ninth flight, the Electron rocket carried seven payloads to a sun-synchronous orbit of 99.45° inclination and 1,000 kilometers altitude. Four of them are built and operated by NASA as part of the Starling program. A technological demonstration of the capabilities of swarmswhere satellites communicate with each other to perform coordinated and autonomous analysis or maneuvers.. Providing the basis for future constellations when communication with Earth has a long signal delay.

Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) has selected Rocket Lab to launch Telesat's LEO 3 demonstration satellite. This satellite is intended to provide continuity to customers and ecosystem vendor test campaigns following the deactivation of Telesat's Phase 1 LEO satellite.           

The other two are three-unit SPIRE Global satellites, relying on Global Navigation Satellite System Radio Occultation (GNSS-RO) payloads. This is in order to replenish the already deployed constellation of more than 100 assets.

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Recovery

Based on the experience gained from previous attempts to recover the first stages of the rocket and despite setting aside the possibility of catching them in free fall with a helicopter, Rocket Lab continues to work on necessary improvements to collect them in the ocean. These include reinforcements and modifications to reduce corrosion and saltwater damage.

In addition, they employed a new, lighter parachute and a new mechanism for towing the rocket onto the recovery ship. It will be taken to the factory for damage analysis and reuse. Meanwhile, at the end of the year Rocket Lab will fly a Rutherford engine recovered from a past mission.

Francisco Andrés Forero Daza