Spaceflight Inc. is managing the launch of Canon Electronics’ CE-SAT-IB imaging satellite on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle — the mission will lift off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 at the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, with the launch window opening on July 4 NZT/July 3, UTC.
CE-SAT-IB is a 67 kilogram microsatellite which can resolve 90 centimeter objects on the ground from space. Additionally, Spaceflight is coordinating the launch of another Canon satellite, CE-SAT-IIB, which is slated to lift off after the CE-SAT-IB mission later in 2020, also aboard an Electron. It will carry three cameras with different resolutions and sensitivities.
This mission, called Pics Or It Didn’t Happen by Rocket Lab, represents Spaceflight’s fourth launch with Rocket Lab in the past 12 months and follows the successful launches of 10 spacecraft on earlier missions “Make it Rain” (June 2019), “Look Ma No Hands” (August 2019), and “Running Out of Fingers“ (November 2019). While this mission was scheduled to launch earlier this year, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Spaceflight has continued to work closely with Canon Electronics, Rocket Lab, and government officials to launch as expeditiously and safely as the conditions allow. Like the previous missions, Spaceflight managed the launch capacity procurement, integration and mission management services for the rideshare spacecraft.
Since its founding, Spaceflight has launched more than 270 satellites via 29 rocket launches, establishing itself as the leading rideshare service provider. Spaceflight is scheduled to execute more than six missions in 2020 across many different launch vehicles, including the Falcon 9, Electron, Vega, SSLV and PSLV.
Curt Blake, the CEO and President of Spaceflight, stated the company is looking forward to getting these next generation Canon spacecraft on orbit and helping them kickstart their constellation. Spaceflight’s ability to find the most expedient rides to space for the firm’s customers is critical, especially when their business plans require a frequent cadence of launches. Offering end-to-end launch services across multiple launch vehicles gives Spaceflight customers flexibility, along with confidence that the company will get them where they want to go, aligned with their schedule.
Dr. Nobutada Sako, group executive, Satellite Systems Lab, Canon Electronics Inc., added that this launch is critical for Canon Electronics as the company is launching a satellite where the firm has remarkably increased the ratio of in-house development of components compared to the previous launch. Partnering with Spaceflight on this mission has been very helpful and the company looks forward to a successful launch of Canon Electronics’ satellites.