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Home / Science / Rocket Lab launch with DARPA's R3D2 satellite, scheduled for Tuesday – Spaceflight Now

Rocket Lab launch with DARPA's R3D2 satellite, scheduled for Tuesday – Spaceflight Now



Rocket Labs Electron rocket during a countdown Sunday (time in the US). Credit: Rocket Lab

The Rocket Lab launch team canceled a launch attempt in New Zealand on Sunday after discovering an inappropriate video transmitter on the Electron booster that was supposed to fly a small US military satellite into orbit for an innovative antenna design to test. Engineers relocated the mission for Tuesday (US time).

The US New Zealand launch company announced the delay when the Electron counted on a target withdrawal time of 7:36 pm. EDT (2336 GMT) Sunday.

"The team identified a low-power video transmitter at 13 dB," tweeted Rocket Lab. "It's not a problem for the flight, but we want to understand why, so we'll skip the day."

Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, added that the rocket was "technically good to fly" We have redundant connections, but we do not know why the performance has waned, and that makes me uncomfortable.

In an update a few hours later, Rocket Lab said the crews had plans to replace the suspicious video channel in time for a second launch attempt Tuesday (US time). The four-hour start window Tuesday will open at 18:30. EDT (2230 GMT).

In New Zealand, the launch window will open on Wednesday at 11:30 local time.

The two-stage electron rocket launches the Defense Defense Research Agency's high-frequency risk reduction demonstration satellite into a 425-kilometer orbit in which the spacecraft will deploy an antenna in an experiment to show how expandable reflector arrays can be stowed in volumes. that fit tight enough for a small, relatively cheap rocket.

Illustration of the artist of the satellite D3R2 R3D2. Credit: Northrop Grumman

The satellite, designated R3D2, carries an antenna of thin Kapton materials that can open in orbit at a height of almost 2.25 meters (7.2 feet).

The spacecraft was integrated by Northrop Grumman. The R3D2 spacecraft bus was provided by Blue Canyon Technologies of Boulder, Colorado, and the antenna was designed and built by MMA Designs of Louisville, Colorado.

The R3D2 Mission is the first US Department of Defense launch of Rocket Lab to investigate how this works. Other small satellites should be deployed to provide communications, battlefield surveillance, and other services to the military, enabling the fleets of the US Navy military spaceships are more resistant to attacks and can be designed to be less expensive.

The Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket has been launched four times since then. May 2017. After the Electron's first test flight due to a grounding error failed to reach orbit, Rocket Lab scored three hits as he joined CubeSats for NASA, commercial companies and Brought educational institutions into orbit.

The electron will lift as the Electron takes off The rocket will depart east of Rocket Lab's privately owned launch base on New Zealand's North Island. The R3D2 satellite is set to launch after 53 minutes from the Electron's upper stage and launch the spacecraft's planned six-month tech demo mission.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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