On Thursday, Rocket Lab will attempt to launch its workhorse Electron rocket on its ninth total mission since its debut in 2017, and its fifth mission in 2019 – the most for the company to date. The payload consists of a single satellite provided by California’s Astro Digital as part of a dedicated flight. The 14-day launch window was opened on Monday at noon NZDT, but was subsequently postponed to Wednesday afternoon at 13:41 NZDT due to inclement weather.
The mission has been nicknamed “As The Crow Flies”, which is a reference to Astro Digital’s Corvus platform of satellites that range from 6U and 16U CubeSats to ESPA Class spacecraft. (Corvus is also a genus of birds that includes the crow). This will be Astro Digital’s first flight with Rocket Lab.
The payload for Electron’s ninth launch is the Palisade technology demonstrator, a 16U CubeSat that features an onboard propulsion system, an Astro Digital-provided communications system, and an advanced version of Advanced Solutions Incorporated’s MAX Flight Software. The mass of the satellite has not been revealed.
Palisade encapsulated in Electron’s payload fairing after integration – credit: Rocket Lab
Like most previous missions, Rocket Lab’s Electron will utilize its ...