Rocket Lab confirms commercial launch window, adds payloads to manifest

Image courtesy of Rocket Lab.

Rocket Lab, a New Zealand/USA launch services company, has confirmed a launch window for its first official commercial launch dubbed “It’s Business Time”. The 14-day launch window will open from 23 June to 6 July (NZST), with launch opportunities between 12:30 – 16:30 NZST daily (00:30 – 04:30 UTC).

Additionally, the company has added more customers to the upcoming launch’s manifest. Existing customers, such as two Lemur-2 satellites from Spire Global and a GeoOptics Inc. satellite, will be joined by at least two more satellites. These include IRVINE01, an educational payload from the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program (ICSP), and NABEO, a drag sail technology demonstrator designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmBH.

The satellites will be be launched to a 500km x 250km elliptical orbit at 85 degrees, before being circularized using Rocket Lab’s Curie engine powered kick stage.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said, “Rocket Lab’s responsive space model is crucial to support the exponential growth of the small satellite market. That a customer can come to us seeking a ride to orbit and we can have them booked to launch in weeks is unheard of in the launch business,” he says.

“Small satellites are playing an increasingly important role in providing crucial services that benefit millions of people on Earth. Frequent access to orbit is the key to unlocking the potential for these satellites, and Rocket Lab is the only small launch provider currently enabling this access.”

“It’s Business Time” was originally scheduled for 20 April – 3 May 2018, was moved after unusual behavior was identified in a motor controller during a wet dress rehearsal. So far, the company has conducted 2 test launches and launched 4 satellites into orbit.

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