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Rocket Lab Successfully Launches Payload for Astro Digital

By | October 17, 2019

Photo: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab successfully launched its ninth Electron mission, deploying a single spacecraft to orbit for satellite manufacturer Astro Digital. The mission, named “As The Crow Flies,” lifted off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula today at 01:22 UTC. Approximately 71 minutes after lift-off, Electron’s Kick Stage deployed the payload to a circular orbit of more than 1,000 kilometers (km) — more than twice the altitude of any Electron mission to date.

The spacecraft on board was a Palisade technology demonstration satellite – a 16U CubeSat with on-board propulsion and next generation communications systems developed by Astro Digital, and software developed by Advanced Solutions including an advanced version of ASI’s MAX Flight Software.

“Congratulations to the Astro Digital team for readying the spacecraft and taking advantage of an earlier launch opportunity. Our teams worked closely to deliver a flawless mission in a demonstration of the truly responsive space launch that small satellites need,” said Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive, Peter Beck. “No longer do small satellite operators have to accept the limitations of flying as a secondary payload, nor do they have to wait endlessly on the manifest of unproven launch vehicles. Frequent, responsive, and reliable launch is the new norm for small satellites thanks to Electron.”