Rocket Lab is targeting no earlier than 10:00 am UTC, Saturday, May 15, for the launch of the ‘Running Out Of Toes‘ mission.
The mission is a dedicated launch deploying two EO satellites for BlackSky. For the first time this year, Rocket Lab will also be attempting to recover the Electron launch vehicle’s first stage under a parachute for a controlled ocean splashdown. The mission is the next major step in Rocket Lab’s program to make Electron a reusable rocket.
This launch also marks two significant milestones for Rocket Lab — this is the company’s 20th Electron mission and will see the firm’s 200th, 3D-printed Rutherford engine launched to space.
The launch will take place from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. A two-hour window has been allocated for launch.
- Launch Window:
UTC: 10:00 – 12:05 (15 May) NZDT: 22:00 – 00:05 (15 May) Pacific: 13:00 – 05:05 (15 May) Eastern: 06:00 – 08:05 (15 May)
If there is a need to stand down from launch for any reason, Rocket Lab has back-up launch days available through May 28th.
As stated, ‘Running Out Of Toes’ will be Rocket Lab’s 20th Electron launch as well as the second of three planned ocean splashdown recovery missions. While Electron’s second stage delivers the satellites to orbit, Rocket Lab will bring Electron’s first stage back to Earth underneath a parachute following a series of complex maneuvers. These include orienting the booster at an angle that will better help it survive the brutal re-entry process that involves heats of up to 2400-degrees Celsius while traveling up to eight times the speed of sound.
‘Running Out Of Toes’ is also the first in a series of dedicated launches this year through Spaceflight Inc. for BlackSky, where two of that firm’s 60 kg class satellites will be launched on this mission in support of the aggressive scaling of BlackSky’s satellite constellation to meet the demand for real-time global monitoring and analysis services for public and private organizations.