I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical

Electron

Rocket Lab Ltd

Launch Status
Success

Mission

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical

Type: Earth Science

This return to flight mission is dedicated for Capella Space, an information services company providing Earth observation data on demand. Capella’s payload, ‘Sequoia’, is a single 100 kg class microsatellite which will be the first publicly available satellite in the company’s commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) constellation. By positioning the satellite to a 45-degree inclination, Capella Space will maximize coverage over important areas such as the Middle East, Korea, Japan, Europe, South East Asia, Africa, and the U.S. The mission name is a nod to Capella’s SAR technology that provides high quality images of the Earth day or night, and in any weather conditions, as well as a nod to the infamous advertisement campaign for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. Capella’s space-based radar can detect sub-0.5 meter changes on the surface of the Earth, providing insights and data that can be used for security, agricultural and infrastructure monitoring, as well as disaster response and recovery.

Location

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1A

Onenui Station, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

17 launches have been at this location.

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1A, Onenui Station, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

Rocket

Electron

Length: 18 meters
Diameter: 1.2 meters
First Launched: May 25, 2017

Electron is a two-stage orbital expendable launch vehicle (with an optional third stage) developed by the American aerospace company Rocket Lab. Electron is a small-lift launch vehicle designed to launch small satellites and cubesats to sun-synchronous orbit and low earth orbit. The Electron is the first orbital class rocket to use electric-pump-fed engines, powered by the 9 Rutherford engines on the first stage.

The Electron rocket has been launched a total of 17 times with 15 successful and 2 failed launches.

Agency

Rocket Lab Ltd

Type: Commercial
Abbreviation: RL
Administration: CEO: Peter Beck
Founded: 2006
Launchers: Electron
Spacecraft:
Country: USA

Rocket Lab is an American aerospace manufacturer with a wholly owned New Zealand subsidiary. The company develops lightweight, cost-effective commercial rocket launch services. The Electron Program was founded on the premise that small payloads such as CubeSats require dedicated small launch vehicles and flexibility not currently offered by traditional rocket systems. Its rocket, the Electron, is a light-weight rocket and is now operating commercially. Electron currently launches from only Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand however they are currently looking into developing a facility in the US.

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