3 mins read 18 Aug 2021

Rocket Lab Set for Fastest Satellite Launches Yet

Rocket Lab will see its fastest launch turnaround yet over the next month with three missions planned to deploy a total of six BlackSky satellites.

Rocket Lab's 10th mission, Running Out Of Fingers. Credit: Sam Toms.

Rocket Lab is gearing up to complete a rapid series of launches in what will be their fastest launch turnarounds yet. From late August through to September, Rocket Lab will launch several satellites for the US-based aerospace company BlackSky. 

True to form with Rocket Lab’s love of unique mission names, the first of these missions is called “Love at First Insight”, and will launch from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula later this month. “Love at First Insight” is hot-on-the-heels of their previous mission which was launched only last month, on the 29th of July. 

The New Zealand based launch company is set to complete three launches for BlackSky as part of a launch agreement reached earlier this year. Each of these missions, including “Love at First Insight”, will deploy two Gen-2 BlackSky imaging satellites. BlackSky is a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services, and these new satellites will be part of their high-resolution multi-spectral satellite constellation.

Rocket Lab has also previously launched for BlackSky as part of the same launch agreement earlier this year. However, during the launch, the rocket failed and the two BlackSky satellites that were on board were lost. 

Electron, Rocket Lab’s prime launch vehicle, malfunctioned shortly around the time the second stage separated. However, since then, Electron has completed a successful mission, “It’s a Bit Chile Up Here”, which deployed a research and development satellite for the US Space Force. 

Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. Credit: Rocket Lab.

“Love at First Insight” will be Rocket Lab’s 22nd mission which will launch satellites eight and nine of the BlackSky constellation. This upcoming series of launches for BlackSky will test Rocket Lab’s ability to launch small satellites at an unprecedented pace, one of the company’s main focuses. Another goal of Rocket Lab’s is the development and continued use of reusable rockets like its Electron rocket, which will be used for “Love at First Insight”. 

Rocket Lab is a rocket company based in both New Zealand and the US. They are known for their quirky mission names, including  “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Return to Sender”, 

Rocket Lab was also recently awarded a subcontract to design twin spacecraft for NASA’s EscaPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) Mission to Mars, which is looking to launch in 2024.