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Rocket Lab Closes Out 2021 With BlackSky Mission ‘Data With Destiny’ 

By Rachel Jewett | December 9, 2021

Rocket Lab launches mission for BlackSky on Dec. 9, 2021. Photo: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab completed its final mission of 2021 early on Thursday, launching two satellites for BlackSky from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Dubbed ‘A Data With Destiny,’ this was Rocket Lab’s second launch for customer BlackSky in three weeks, following a Nov. 18 launch

The Electron rocket took off at 12:02 a.m. UTC on Dec. 9, and successfully delivered two BlackSky Earth-imaging satellites to a circular 430 km orbit. BlackSky confirmed the satellites were performing well after the launch. 

“These back-to-back missions are a showcase of the benefits of rapid launch in action: quick constellation expansion, streamlined access to space, and fast delivery of global insights to BlackSky customers,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck commented. 

This launch brings BlackSky’s constellation of geospatial monitoring satellites to 12. BlackSky has rapidly expanded its constellation over the past few weeks with two Rocket Lab launches, and a rideshare on the recent SpaceX Starlink launch

In total, Rocket Lab performed six launches in 2021, including a failure in May that lost two satellites for BlackSky. This year, the company passed the 100-satellite deployment milestone, went public via a SPAC, unveiled plans for the larger Neutron rocket, and acquired space software company Advanced Solutions.