Space company Rocket Lab has successfully launched its 15th Electron mission and deployed 10 Earth-imaging satellites for Planet and Spaceflight customer Canon Electronics. The mission was Rocket Lab’s fifth for this year, making Electron the second-most frequently flown US launch vehicle in 2020.
The ‘In Focus’ mission was launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 21:21 UTC, October 28, 2020. The Electron launch vehicle successfully deployed the ten commercial small satellites to a 500-km circular orbit, bringing the total number of payloads deployed by Rocket Lab to 65.
The payloads on ‘In Focus’ included the latest flock of Planet’s Earth-imaging SuperDove small satellites, each integrated with and deployed from Rocket Lab’s Maxwell satellite dispensers. Flock 4e’ bolsters Planet’s constellation of Earth-observation satellites already on orbit providing medium-resolution global coverage and near-daily revisit.
Canon Electronic’s mission objective with their CE-SAT-IIB microsatellite is to demonstrate the company’s Earth-imaging capability with a middle-size telescope equipped with an ultra-high sensitivity camera to take night images of the Earth and small size telescopes suitable for CubeSat use.
Commenting on the launch, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said: “Congratulations to Planet on the addition of their latest SuperDoves to their constellation and to the team at Canon Electronics on the deployment of their latest tech demonstration satellite. Electron has once again delivered a smooth ride to orbit and precise deployment for our individual rideshare customers.
“Continuing to launch in the face of global disruption and adversity, while at the same time becoming the second-most frequently flown US launch vehicle this year, is the latest display our dedication in providing ongoing, easy access to space for our customers.
Details about the customers onboard Rocket Lab’s 16th Electron launch will be announced shortly, with the next mission scheduled to take place from Launch Complex 1 in the coming weeks.