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Rocket Lab Kicks Off 2024 With Mission for Spire and NorthStar 

By Rachel Jewett | January 31, 2024

      Rocket Lab launches satellites for NorthStar and Spire. Photo: Rocket Lab

      Rocket Lab launched its first mission of 2024 on Wednesday, launching four space situational awareness (SSA) satellites for Spire Global and NorthStar Earth & Space. The Electron mission took off from Launch Complex 1 at 19:34 NZDT and deployed the satellites to a 530 km circular Earth orbit. 

      NorthStar Earth & Space confirmed the success of the launch. These satellites will be the first of its SSA constellation, to monitor all near-Earth orbits to provide information on space objects, tracking, orbit determination, collision avoidance, navigation, and proximity alerts. NorthStar plans to have 12 satellites on orbit by 2026. 

      Spire Global built the satellites and will operate them. NorthStar is a customer of Spire’s space services business. Spire landed the deal with NorthStar in March 2022.

      Rocket Lab has a sold out mission manifest in 2024 and is targeting 22 missions total. The launcher also splashed down the Electron booster used in the mission, as part of its work to make Electron a reusable rocket. 

      “The success of today’s mission to deliver Spire & NorthStar to orbit, and the completion of our secondary mission to return Electron to Earth after launch, has been a fantastic start of what is set to be Rocket Lab’s busiest year ever,” commented Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck. “We have more missions booked in 2024 than we’ve ever scheduled before, and it is a real privilege to continue to deliver small launch reliability for our satellite customers on advanced missions like these and for all the missions to come in 2024.”