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Rocket Lab set for ‘as the crow flies’

Rocket Lab will open a new launch window for the latest Mahia rocket launch in about two weeks time.

Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 facility at Onenui Station is now the world’s fifth busiest global launch site, the company said on Twitter this week.

Plans are in place for its ninth mission, with a 14-day launch window due to open on Tuesday.

The dedicated mission for United States-based satellite manufacturer and operator Astro Digital.

Rocket Lab said the mission would be named ‘As The Crow Flies’ in a nod to Astro Digital’s Corvus Platform, which provided solutions across a wide range of applications and mission profiles on bus variants ranging from 6U and 16U CubeSats to ESPA Class. Corvus was also a widely-distributed genus of birds which includes crows.

Astro Digital chief executive Chris Biddy said the mission would put a Palisade satellite into orbit.

“Astro Digital provides customers with complete space-based systems and mission support services for applications such as earth observation, satellite communications, and technology demonstration.

Astro Digital built and is currently flying satellites demonstrating new propulsion technologies, communications systems, and sensors as the initial step towards deploying full constellations.

“The Palisade technology demonstration satellite is an Astro Digital 16U CubeSat bus with on-board propulsion system, a next generation Astro Digital developed communications system, and software developed by Advanced Solutions Inc, including an advanced version of ASI’s MAX Flight Software.”

Rocket Lab intends to be able to re-use rockets in the near future and a spokeswoman for the company said the mission would also provide extra information on how that could be done.

“Electron will once again carry critical instrumentation to provide data that will help inform Rocket Lab’s future recovery and reuse efforts of the vehicle’s first stage.”