On Friday, Rocket Lab will launch its 25th mission using an Electron rocket, this time to send two Earth imaging spacecraft into orbit around BlackSky. A second launch in 2022 for Rocket Lab will bring the BlackSky high-resolution satellite constellation to 14.
The mission, dubbed No Rhythm, will launch at 12:35 UTC (8:35 am EST) from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. A pair of BlackSky satellites will be deployed in a 430 kilometers (270 miles) orbit.
The company will not attempt to recover the first stage of the Electron during this mission, although Rocket Lab has been working on reusing the first stage for the Electron since 2018. The company’s long-term vision is to restore Phase I with an aerial helicopter takeover, a maneuver that has made steady progress in recent years. Last November, Rocket Lab performed its third booster recovery (the only company other than SpaceX to achieve reuse) with a helicopter stationed in the recovery area to track the launcher’s descent.
Beck told reporters that the company will try to go on the air in the first half of this year.
This isn’t the first time Rocket Lab has delivered a BlackSky payload into space. The launch company delivered most of the BlackSky satellites currently in orbit, with the first launch for the geospatial intelligence company in 2019.
The launch will be streamed on the company’s website and YouTube channel, and gaming-updates will post the broadcast at the top of this page as soon as it goes live.