Miss today’s RL-4 launch? We gotcha covered.

After a weather delay last Friday, our second rideshare mission on the Electron (and fifth mission this year), RL-4 had a successful launch and separation of all spacecraft this morning. Everything went exactly to plan — just the way we like it!

In case you missed it, below is Rocket Lab’s webcast of the “Look Ma No Hands” launch and several photos.

Payloads ready for encapsulation. Photo credit: Rocket Lab
Fairing encapsulation. Photo credit: Rocket Lab
All systems GO for launch. Photo credit: Rocket Lab
Liftoff! Photo credit: Rocket Lab
Photo credit: Rocket Lab
Deployment of BlackSky’s Global-4 spacecraft. Photo credit: Rocket Lab

Spacecraft on this mid-inclination (45 degrees) mission to a 540km x 540km orbit included:

  • BlackSky’s Global-4, a microsatellite class Earth-imaging system. Like its predecessors (Global-1, -2, and -3) already on orbit, Global-4 will provide 1-meter resolution color imagery, building upon the constellation’s objective of providing a fast revisit rate critical for organizations detecting and monitoring changes in locations of interest around the world. Global-4 is the company’s second satellite in the BlackSky constellation deployed to an inclined orbit and will work in conjunction with Global-3 to demonstrate the initial high revisit rate service. Global-4 also introduces some significant capability upgrades to the satellite including a “green” water-based propellant system. 
  • United States Air Force Space Command’s “Pearl White.” This is an Air Force Space Command demonstration program whose goal is to design, develop, launch and operate two 6U cubesat experimental spacecraft as an on-orbit testbed for emerging technologies in 2019. The demonstration will test new technologies including propulsion, power, communications, and drag capabilities for potential applications on future spacecraft.  The two cubesats were built by Tiger Innovations Inc., who will operate the spacecraft for the life of the program under the direction and oversight of AFSPC.

Huge congrats to everyone involved in the mission. Til next time!