Story image

Rocket Lab to fly Planet and Spire satellites on second test flight

27 Sep 17

Rocket Lab has announced it will fly payloads for Planet and Spire aboard its upcoming second test flight, ‘Still Testing’, from Launch Complex 1 on the Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand.

Rocket Lab’s Electron orbital launch vehicle will carry two Earth-imaging Dove satellites for Planet and two Lemur-2 satellites from Spire for weather mapping and ship traffic tracking.

The flight is the second of three in Rocket Lab’s Electron test programme and follows the successful inaugural Electron test flight carried out on May 25, 2017.

Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, says carrying a test payload marks a significant milestone for the Electron programme, enabling Rocket Lab to gather crucial data and test systems for the deployment stage of a mission. 

“We’re thrilled with Electron’s performance in the first test flight and now we’re eager to test the next crucial step – payload deployment. No major changes to the launch vehicle hardware have been required, the third-party error that meant we didn’t make orbit has been corrected and we’re focusing on the six Electron vehicles in production right now,” says Beck.

“While we’re still very much operating in a test phase and can likely expect a few scrubs during the second test flight attempt, we’re incredibly excited about carrying Planet and Spire payloads on Electron. The data these companies gather has an increasingly significant role to play in how we understand our planet and better manage it,” says Beck.

Mike Safyan, Planet senior launch director, says, “Our companies have long shared an ethos of dreaming big and executing on that vision, so it’s only fitting that Planet is among the first payloads to fly on a Rocket Lab Electron. The Electron will be a game changer in a traditionally difficult launch market. We are excited to quite literally be riding the leading edge with Rocket Lab.” 

Planet’s largest-ever network of 190 satellites collects more imagery daily than any other commercial provider, creating a completely new information feed about the world.

With this comprehensive and empirical dataset, Planet uses machine learning-driven analytics to create unique insights that deliver crucial market intelligence for businesses, governments, and NGOs.

"The ability to iterate quickly and execute on an incredibly high level is core to the success of both Rocket Lab and Spire. 'Still Testing' is a culmination of that work into a single event,” says Peter Platzer, Spire CEO.

“We're proud to be onboard for this inaugural deployment attempt."

Spire, the world's first commercial weather satellite constellation, adds two satellites to an existing constellation of Lemur-2 satellites that covers every location on earth over 100 times per day. 

 The multi-sensor satellites gather global atmospheric measurements for advanced weather warnings and predictions and track global ship traffic for multiple commercial and government applications.

The Electron vehicle for the ‘Still Testing’ flight is expected to be trucked to Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand, in October 2017 with a launch window to open in the weeks following once vehicle checks are complete.

Report finds GCSB in compliance with NZ rights
The Inspector-General has given the GCSB its compliance tick of approval for the fourth year in a row.
Preparing for e-invoicing requirements
The New Zealand and Australian governments are working on a joint approach to create trans-Tasman standards to e-invoicing that’ll make it easier for businesses in both countries work with each other and across the globe
5c more per share: Trade Me bidding war heats up
Another bidder has entered the bidding arena as the potential sale of Trade Me kicks up a notch.
Hootsuite's five social trends marketers should take note of
These trends should keep marketers, customer experience leaders, social media professionals and executives awake at night.
Company-X celebrates ranking on Deloitte's Fast 500 Asia Pacific
Hamilton-based software firm Company-X has landed a spot on Deloitte Technology’s Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2018 ranking - for the second year in a row.
Entrepreneur reactivates business engagement in AU Super funds
10 million workers leave it up to employers to choose their Super fund for them – and the majority of employers are just as passive and unengaged at putting that fund to work.
Tether: The Kiwi startup fighting back against cold, damp homes
“Mould and mildew are the new asbestos. But unlike asbestos, detecting the presence – or conditions that encourage growth – of mould and mildew is nearly impossible."
Capitalising on exponential IT
"Exponential IT must be a way of life, not just an endpoint."