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Rocket Lab Completes Two NASA Launches in Less than Two Weeks

By Mark Holmes | June 5, 2024

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket launches June 4, carrying the second NASA PREFIRE cubesat. Photo by: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab has launched two satellites in 11 days, in another key milestone for the company. It has completed the second of two Electron launches for NASA’s PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) climate change-focused mission. The turnaround was less than two weeks. ‘PREFIRE and Ice’ lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on June 5, deploying the second of two satellites for the PREFIRE mission to a 525km orbit. Rocket Lab announced the successful launch, June 5.

With both satellites now in orbit, they will crisscross the Arctic and Antarctic to study heat lost to space from the Earth’s polar regions. Heat loss measurements collected by the PREFIRE mission will help to improve climate and ice-loss models to better predict Earth’s ice, sea level, and weather changes. The mission is expected to operate for 10 months.

“I’m proud of the team for delivering back-to-back mission success for NASA on Electron once again. Quickly deploying both satellites to orbit within eleven days of each other demonstrates our team’s skill and experience, allowing NASA to maximize PREFIRE’s time in space collecting important climate change data. We’re a long-trusted launch partner for NASA’s biggest small satellite missions, and it’s a privilege to continue supporting innovative science missions like PREFIRE,” Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said in a statement.