On October 28 at 5:21 p.m. EDT, a launch sent ten satellites to orbit. The company in charge of the launch was Rocket Lab, and the liftoff rocket was its Electron booster. The venue was its launch pad in New Zealand, and going by the country’s time, the launch took place on October 29 at 10:21 a.m., equivalent to 2121 GMT. Nine of the payloads, small-sized CubeSats referred to as SuperDoves, expanded the already prominent Planet’s constellation. The company, which is based in San Francisco, has the most prominent Earth-observation constellation globally. At the moment, the company has sent up to 350 satellites to orbit. Currently, 150 of them are operational.
The spacecraft’s role is to monitor changes on Earth and then put the data at its customers’ disposal. In other cases, it offers free imagery. A good example is the orbital photos that show the impact the missile attacks by Iran had on Iraq’s military bases. Other images are about the aftermath of natural disasters, including earthquakes. The remaining payload goes by the name CE-SAT-IIB which weighs 35.5 kilograms equivalent to about 78.3 lb. Its manufacturer is the canon Electronics, Inc., based in Japan, and its mission is taking Earth’s images at night. Onboard are small-sized telescopes ideal for CubeSats and a middle-sized one characterized by an ultra-high sensitive camera.
About an hour after the launch, the satellites had reached their destination. They landed on the sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). They are at an altitude of 500 kilometers, approximately 310 miles. Therefore, they get to view the surface with solar illumination throughout. The launch comes months after the one that failed back on July 4. Rocket Lab’s two-stage Electron rocket was in charge of the failed launch. Its upper stage experienced a faulty electrical connection and consequently lost Canon’s CE-SAT-IB microsatellite and 5 SuperDoves. After the failure, the booster didn’t return to flight until August.
Electron rocket has a height of 17 meters equivalent to 57 feet. This year, it has facilitated five launches, but it has been in charge of 15 liftoffs ever since its existence. According to Rocket Lab’s CEO, Peter Beck, recovery and reuse of the rocket’s first stages will commence soon. Consequently, the frequency of launches will increase. In the recent Electron flights, Rocket Lab tests on reusability tech have been happening. However, that was not the case for this launch. As a result of a problem with the oxygen sensor, the launch’s schedule changed from October 21. Fortunately, it became a success, and there are now an additional Earth’s observing satellites in orbit.