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Rocket Lab completes dual satellite deployment for KAIST and NASA
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Rocket Lab completes dual satellite deployment for KAIST and NASA
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Apr 25, 2024

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB), a prominent player in the launch services and space systems industry, has successfully launched two satellites into distinct orbits 500km apart during its 47th Electron mission.

The mission, named "Beginning Of The Swarm" (B.T.S.), commenced with a launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand at 10:32 NZST on April 24th, 2024. The mission carried payloads for the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and NASA. Initially, the Electron rocket deployed KAIST's NEONSAT-1 into a 520km circular Earth orbit, followed by the deployment of NASA's Advanced Composite Solar Sail System into a higher orbit at 1,000km.

NEONSAT-1 is set to enhance Earth observation over the Korean Peninsula and integrate its data with AI for monitoring natural disasters. This marks the first deployment in an 11-satellite constellation planned by KAIST to frequently image the peninsula.

The secondary payload, NASA's Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, demonstrates innovative solar propulsion technology using sunlight to move a spacecraft. This technology demonstration aims to test the deployment of composite booms that extend a sail about the size of a small apartment from a toaster-sized spacecraft. Data from this mission will inform the development of larger composite solar sail systems intended for various applications including space weather monitoring, asteroid exploration, and solar polar region observations.

Rocket Lab's Electron's Kick Stage, equipped with engine relight capabilities, was instrumental in delivering the satellites to their respective orbits. After deploying NEONSAT-1, the Kick Stage executed multiple burns to adjust its orbit and deploy the NASA spacecraft. A final burn brought the Kick Stage back towards Earth, expediting its deorbit and mitigating space debris.

This launch marks Rocket Lab's fifth of 2024, continuing its record as one of the most frequently launched rockets in the United States.

Further details regarding Rocket Lab's upcoming Electron mission will be released soon.

Related Links
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