Latest News

Rocket Lab Mission Launches Telesat LEO Demonstration Satellite 

By Rachel Jewett | July 18, 2023

      Rocket Lab launches the Baby Come Back Electron mission from New Zealand on July 18, 2023. Photo: Rocket Lab via Business Wire

      Rocket Lab’s latest mission launched Telesat’s new LEO 3 demonstration satellite to orbit, less than two months after the satellite was announced

      Space Flight Laboratory, which built the satellite, confirmed post-launch that it acquired signals from the satellite and its solar arrays deployed and passed initial satellite health tests. SFL built the 30-kg LEO 3 spacecraft on its Defiant microsatellite bus. The LEO 3 satellite features Ka- and V-band payloads and will provide continuity for customer and ecosystem vendor testing campaigns once the Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite is decommissioned. 

      “I’d like to thank our valued partners Rocket Lab and SFL for their flawless execution on the LEO 3 mission,” stated Dave Wendling, Telesat’s CTO. “We’re eager to get LEO 3 operational and resume important customer and vendor testing campaigns with next-generation terminals and modems in advance of our Telesat Lightspeed network deployment.”

      Rocket Lab deployed seven satellites on the rideshare mission and also completed a successful ocean splashdown and recovery of Electron’s first stage for its work to make Electron reusable. The mission, “Baby Come Back,” launched from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on July 18 at 1:27 p.m. local time. 

      It also launched NASA’s Starling mission of four cubesats that will demonstrate flying in a swarm, autonomously coordinating flight activities in orbit. The mission also included two 3U satellites for Spire Global with Global Navigation Satellite System Radio Occultation (GNSS-RO) payloads to refresh its constellation. 

      “We’re delighted to have delivered yet another successful Electron mission and would like to thank the teams at Space Flight Laboratory, Spire Global, and NASA, for entrusting us with their innovative science and tech demonstration missions,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “With this mission we’ve made big strides toward reusability with Electron and we are now closer than ever to relaunching a booster for the first time.”