Lab’s Electron rocket successfully launched seven satellites into orbit for its most recent mission before the booster gracefully descended for a parachute-assisted ocean splashdown to assess its reusability.
On Monday at 9:27 p.m. ET, Electron launched from the firm’s Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. Due to unfavourable weather, the launch was postponed by a few days, but everything went smoothly when it finally took off.
Seven satellites were delivered as part of the ride-sharing mission for NASA, Space Flight Laboratory, and Spire Global. In order to test satellite technologies for autonomous positioning, networking, manoeuvring, and decision-making, NASA’s Starling mission consists of four cubesats that are intended to cooperate in a swarm. Starling will examine the satellites’ ability to work as a cohesive community, complete tasks cooperatively, and react to their surroundings.
Along with two Spire Global Earth-observing weather satellites, Electron also carried Telesat’s LEO 3 demonstration satellite from the Space Flight Laboratory to complete testing for its constellation.
In order to transform Electron into a reusable rocket, Rocket Lab’s most recent mission, “Baby Come Back,” entailed the company’s anticipation of the booster’s return.
The satellites were launched by the rocket’s second stage into a sun-synchronous orbit, while the first stage of the Electron started its return journey to Earth roughly 17 minutes after takeoff. A recovery team successfully fished out the rocket after guiding the first stage back down for an ocean splashdown with the help of a parachute. “Baby Came Back,” was the tweet that Rocket Lab posted to mark the safe return of its rocket booster.