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Amid shuffling schedules, Capella to fly its first commercial satellite with Rocket Lab

30 Aug 2020, 17:47 UTC
Amid shuffling schedules, Capella to fly its first commercial satellite with Rocket Lab
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Artist’s concept of a Capella synthetic aperture radar satellite. Credit: Capella Space
After adjusting plans amid launch delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Capella Space is set to launch the first spacecraft in a constellation of commercial radar reconnaissance satellites from New Zealand Sunday on a Rocket Lab Electron booster.
The small radar satellite, named Sequoia, is scheduled to take off during a four-hour window opening at 11:05 p.m. EDT Sunday (0305 GMT; 3:05 p.m. New Zealand time Monday).
Rocket Lab has delayed the launch four days to wait for improved weather at the company’s privately-run spaceport on Mahia Peninsula, located on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. But the U.S.-based launch company said early Sunday that managers completed a launch readiness review and were proceeding with final launch preps for liftoff Sunday night, U.S. time.
After launching toward the east from New Zealand, the 55-foot-tall (17-meter) light-class Electron launcher will deliver Sequoia to a roughly 310-mile-high (500-kilometer) orbit inclined 45 degrees to the equator, according to Rocket Lab.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Capella plans to deploy a fleet of small radar observatories to provide regularly-updated imagery to the U.S. government, international governments, and commercial customers.
Payam Banazadeh, ...

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