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Rocket Lab launches smallsats
Posted: Fri, Mar 26, 2021, 6:02 PM ET (2202 GMT)
Electron launch of Flight 19 mission, March 2021 (Rocket Lab) Rocket Lab successfully launched six satellites and a second demonstration of its Photon satellite bus Monday. The Electron rocket lifted off from the company's New Zealand launch pad at 6:30 pm EDT (2230 GMT), deploying five satellites into a 550-kilometer orbit nearly an hour after liftoff and the sixth, a BlackSky imaging satellite, into a 450-kilometer orbit an hour later. The satellites on the mission included internet-of-things satellites for Fleet and Myriota, the Gunsmoke-J technology demonstration satellite for the U.S. Army, and two smaller cubesats. After deploying the satellites, the kick stage reconfigured itself into a Photon satellite bus, the second such test of that Rocket Lab platform. The company plans to test systems on that Photon that will be needed for the launch later this year of NASA's CAPSTONE lunar cubesat mission.
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