Space force

Rocket Lab will launch an experimental US Space Force satellite on Thursday: watch live

the US space force plans to launch an experimental research and development satellite into low Earth orbit early tomorrow (July 29), and you can watch the action live.

Rocket Lab’s electron amplifier will launch the “It’s a Little Chile Up Here” mission from the company’s California-based launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The mission is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 1 between 2 a.m. EDT and 4 a.m. EDT (0600-0800 GMT; 1800-2000 local New Zealand time) Thursday. You can watch the event live here on Space.com, courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly through the company’s websitestarting approximately 20 minutes before launch.

“Our USSF [U.S. Space Force] looking forward to this next mission with Rocket Lab USA from their New Zealand launch site,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, head of the Small Launch and Targets Division at the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Launch Enterprise at the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Launch Enterprise. ‘U.S. Space Force. in a statement from Los Angeles Air Force Base. “This launch of the STP-27RM demonstrates SMC’s continued commitment to innovation, flexibility and responsiveness.”

Related: Rocket Lab and its Electron booster (photos)

Thursday’s satellite launch, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, is designed to test the use of small satellites for Department of Defense (DoD) programs. Electron will deploy the satellite, named Monolith, into low Earth orbit to demonstrate the feasibility of large deployable sensors.

Since the mass of the sensor is a substantial fraction of the total mass of the spacecraft, deployment could alter the dynamic properties of the spacecraft. Therefore, the demonstration will test whether control of the spacecraft’s altitude can be maintained once the sensor is deployed, according to a statement from Rocket Lab.

“The deployable sensor usage analysis aims to enable the use of smaller satellite buses when building future deployable sensors such as weather satellites, thereby reducing cost, complexity and development time. “, Officials said in the statement from Rocket Lab. “The satellite will also provide a platform to test future space protection capabilities.”

the Launch of the STP-27RM is supported by the DoD’s Space Test Program (STP) and Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) – both part of the US Space Force’s SMC at Kirtland Air Force Base, Utah. New Mexico – as well as by the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), as part of the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative (RALI), which is a project launched to rapidly acquire prototypes of small commercial launch capabilities . The launch is managed by the US Space Force’s Small Launch and Targets division.

Rocket Lab is known for its light launch names, and “It’s a Little Chile Up Here” pays homage to the green chili of New Mexico, where the STP and RSLP are based. STP-27RM follows a launch from Rocket Lab in May 2019, STP-27RD, under the same agreement. For this mission, called “It’s a Funny Cactus”, Electron deployed three experimental satellites for the STP.

“We are delighted to have another Electron on the platform for the space test program,” said Peter Beck, rocket lab CEO and Founder, said in the company’s statement. “We are proud to once again demonstrate the flexible and resilient access to space required by our government partners. The Space Test Program has a long history of developing advanced space and launch capabilities that we all rely on. , global positioning systems, satellite communications, weather satellites and space domain reconnaissance capabilities.We are proud to support the continuation of this innovation through a fast and agile launch on Electron.

STP-27RM will be Rocket Lab’s fourth launch this year and the company’s 21st Electron launch.

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