The 13th Rocket Lab Electron launch will take place from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia peninsula (New Zealand North Island).

Its payload includes Faraday-1, 5 x Super Doves from Planet, and CE-SAT-1B from Canon.

The launch window runs from 3 Jul 2020 to 16 Jul 2020, T0 range is 21:13:58.00 to 22:03:30.00 – these times are given in UTC, all remaining times are given in BST.

As a result of weather conditions, ignition has been delayed slightly, and will now take place on Saturday 4 July at 22:13:58 BST.

There are several ways to access the livestream from Rocket Labs, details of which are below.

Livestream

At around T-15  minutes we go live with the mission broadcast, available on RocketLab’s websiteTwitter account, and YouTube channel. Depending on onboard camera availability and the available data downlinks, it’s not always possible to incorporate live video of payload deployment into the webcast. If this is the case, the webcast will end following Kick Stage separation.

Mission Timeline

Event Time w.r.t. T0
Ignition and Clamp Release +0 s
Kickstage Cut-Off +3125.3 s
Faraday-1 deployment (the main event!) +3320.3 s (if nominal launch time then this will occur at 23:09:18.3 BST)

Faraday-1 deployment will take place west of Ireland, as indicated in the figure above right.

Within 15 minutes of deployment from the Electron upper stage, Faraday-1 will perform a number of automatic operations, including:

  • Turn on of UHF receiver
  • Deploy UHF antenna
  • Deploy solar panels
  • Initiate satellite detumble (NB expected residual rates from deployment should be < 0.5 deg/sec)

Confirmation of Operations

We won’t be able to confirm successful performance of these operations until the first ground contact which takes place around 9 hours later.

During this and subsequent ground contacts, we should be able to confirm success of the automatic operations and place the satellite into a safe Sun-pointing mode. At this point, the Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP) is considered to be complete and commissioning commences.

In-Space personnel will be broadcasting key updates through our @Heads_InSpace Twitter channel, including details of satellite acquired, satellite now Sun pointing etc.