The Rocket Lab was ready for the latest attempt at the first launch of Electron – NASASpaceFlight.com



Rocket Lab is returning to an attempt to carry out the first operational flight of an electronic missile called "It's Business Time". The mission will launch six satellites, two for Spire Global, two new passengers for Fleet Space Technologies via lofting of two Proxima satellites, one for GeoOptics Inc. and one for Irvine CubeSat STEM and one technological demonstrator for High Performance 3D Design Systems GmbH. The missile was scheduled for departure in June before it stopped and will require a rebuilding in November. The launch window opens at 03:00 UTC on Sunday morning, with the current T-0 tracking being 3:50 UTC.

It's a countdown and a flight profile of Business Time:

S It's Business Time is located on the southern tip of the Māhia peninsula on the northern island of New Zealand, which is designated for the first operating flight of Electron raketou after two test flights, one in May 2017 and one earlier this year in January 2018.

At T-7 hours, the Rocket Labu launch team continues on the Launch Control Center console to watch the last activities before liftoff. All trips to the starting point are closed at the T-6 hour mark; followed by engineers who lift the electron vertically and propel a missile with kerosene RP-1 (rocket class) for T-4 hours and count.

The trigger pad is evacuated from all employees for T-2 hours 30 minutes and LOX loading starts at T-2 hours. This is followed at a T-1 hour clock with the start of a local Aviation Authority informing about start-up air traffic and hazardous startup areas in an effort to prevent air traffic pollution off before the expected time off.

If the countdown is planned, a final team survey and vehicle and ground system verification, the final commissioning will begin at T-10 minutes, starting with autosensors and electronic on-board computers initiating the start sequence for T-2 minutes and counting.

The ignition of nine Rutherford engines at the base of Electron's first stage will be commissioned by the T-2-hour rocket computer. All nine engines will run until full thrust and undergo medical checks before the vehicle is released from the launching frame to T0.

Based on computer systems and responsiveness of electrons, if the countdown is suppressed after engine start, the operation may be interrupted for up to 0.1 seconds before being pulled out – with on-board systems responding long enough to prevent electron release from the pad and safe switching off nine Rutherford engines.

Lifttoff will appear from Launch Complex 1 at the first orbital launch site on the Māhia Peninsula – New Zealand and on the first private launching spot in the orbital world.

Upon removal, the electron will shift down to the azimuth, which puts the vehicle into the orbit by 85 degrees. After two minutes of 42 seconds of flight, 9 Rutherford first stage engines will be shut off, and after 3 seconds the first stage will start.

View from the second cameras of the Still Testing electronic rocket during a successful launch in January 2018. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The second phase, powered by a single Rutherford optimized vacuum engine, ignites at T + 2 minutes for 48 seconds and then briefly divides to T + 3 minutes for 6 seconds. At T + 9 minutes 12 seconds, Electron goes into orbit; its second phase shuts down three seconds later on the overall mission 9 minutes 15 seconds passed.

Five seconds after the end of Stage 2, the second phase separates from the third stage, the Curie kickstage. At this point, Electron and its payload on orbit 500 x 250 km (310 x 155 miles) are inclined 85 degrees to the equator.

The Curie exercise and five payload elements will then run for 41 minutes 41 seconds before the kickstage lights up for T + 51 minutes for 1 second. Burning Curie will take 1 minute 6 seconds, ending T + 52 minutes 7 seconds, to circulate the orbit before separating the payload.

During the entire startup phase, when a mission is required, the end-of-flight command may either be manually dispatched from the ground or automatically executed by the onboard computer of the missile. For electrons, the end of flight event would result in sending the Rutherford shutdown command – a flight termination option known as a stroke termination.

It's a working time:

Overall, Business Time will have seven useful features, six satellites, and one technological demonstrator in orbit on the first Operation Electron flight. The mission itself is an enormous journey between several separate entities and showcases of the diverse capabilities of electronic driving on the small satellite market.

Satellite LEMUR-2 in orbit. (Credit: Spire Global)

According to Rocket Lab, the originally planned total payload weight of this flight was slightly more than 40 kg (88 lb), much less than the maximum payload of 225 kg and the nominal payload of 150 kg (331 lb) Electron. 500 km orbit of sunshine synchronization. This allowed – in the distance from the previous attempt to add two Flotilla satellites to the manifest.

It connects two LEMUR-2 satellites, one satellite for GeoOptics Inc., IRVINE01 CubeSat and NABEO for Space Structure Systems GmbH's high performance systems.

Two LEMUR-2 satellites, named LEMUR-2-ZUPANSKI and LEMUR-2-CHANUSIAK, are launched for the Spire Global data and analytics company. Spire previously launched two LEMUR-2 satellites on the previous Electron flight, static testing, back in January 2018. These two new LEMUR-2 satellites will connect to the spiral constellation of more than 50 nanosatellite satellites currently in the Low Earth Orbit area.

LEMUR-2 uses Spire Global Vessel Tracking Data for Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) to track ship movements in the most remote parts of the globe. Satellites also use GPS Occultation for weather monitoring. In the first for Spire Global, two LEMUR-2 satellites that will be launched in It's Business Time will be the first company to use Spy AirSafe Automated Air Tracking Service (ADS-B).

These are the 74th and 75th LEMUR-2 satellites launched for Spire Global and the 78th and 79th global nanosatellites to be launched for the company since their first small satellite launched in 2013 and deployed later this year from the Kibo International Space Station.

Satellite LEMUR-2 is the only satellite-based satellite system of GeoOptics Inc. The satellite system was built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems in Irvine, California, the first of two Tyvak projects to launch in It's Business Time.

The second is IRVINE01 CubeSat – which Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems provided technical support and served as an integration partner for. IRVINE01 itself represents collaboration among 150 high school students from six Irvin schools in the Irvine CubeSat STEM program and was funded by the Irvine Public Schools Foundation donation.

The Irvine CubeSat STEM Program is a collaboration between the Irvine Public School Foundation, the Irvine Unified School District and the Tustin Unified School District, which teaches and inspires the next generation of STEM professionals. It consists of the students of six public secondary schools in Irvine (Beckman, Irvine, Northwood, Portola, University and Woodbridge) and has the goal of gathering, testing and operating nano-satellite in the low Earth orbit.

Through this project students develop and practice STEM skills in technical documentation and communication, project management, hardware and software, mechanical and electrical subsystems, programming, radio and optical communications and data analysis. Students will also gain technical skills through practical experience and mentors from industry professionals as well as invaluable skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork.

IRVINE01 mission patch. (Credit: Irvine CubeSat STEM Program)

IRVINE01 will be the first attempt to successfully launch CubeSat in California and the West Coast of the United States and allow students to run CubeSat to place its antennas, solar panels and camera for optimal traffic as well as collect data that students can rate and share for further study.

Specifically, IRVINE01 carries a low-resolution camera that will take Venus, stars and other celestial images, the images being used to calculate the stars' distances and determine routing accuracy and satellite stability.

The ultimate payload element is the technological demonstrator: the NABEO technology demonstrator designed and manufactured by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH, which will test the ability to passively deorbit inactive small satellites by atmospheric dragging.

The NABEO Demonstrator, who emits his business, uses a small sail, an ultra thin membrane, which will be very friendly in spacecraft and launched after the satellite reaches the end of its operating length.

The "Still Testing" electric rocket raises from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Reflective, ultra-thin membrane panels expand to 2.5 square meters and then increase the surface space of the spacecraft against the atmospheric particles present at its operating altitude.

The more pull the satellite will pull back on Earth faster than it would normally be, which would allow a faster spacecraft deorbity to reduce the amount of space in LEO. We hope that this type of system could be incorporated into future spacecraft to help responsible use of Earth's orbit by removing space waste when satellites reach the end of their operational life.


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