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Rocket Lab sets date for first launch of the year

Space company Rocket Lab has announced the date for its first Mahia-based launch for 2022.

Called “Without Mission A Beat”, it is a dedicated mission for BlackSky through global launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. and will deploy a pair of Gen-2 Earth-imaging satellites to a precise location in low Earth orbit for BlackSky's growing satellite constellation.

Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle is scheduled to launch the mission from Rocket Lab's Mahia site during a window that opens on February 4.

The launch will be the fifth and sixth satellites delivered to space for BlackSky by Rocket Lab in the past three months and Rocket Lab's 24th Electron launch.

Rocket Lab will not be attempting to recover Electron for this mission.

Chief executive Peter Beck said while the next mission was due to be the final launch in a series of back-to-back missions for the company as part of a multi-launch deal actioned last year, Spaceflight had since commissioned an additional sixth launch for BlackSky on Electron to take place in 2022.

“This next mission is part of the largest number of satellites BlackSky have committed in a single deal to a launch provider, and we're proud to be their trusted partner to help grow their constellation. “

“BlackSky adding another mission to the Rocket Lab manifest is further confirmation of Electron's status as the dedicated small launch champion, and we're ready and eager to deliver these missions for BlackSky in the weeks to come.

“These upcoming BlackSky missions begin a busy year of Electron launches for Rocket Lab, including more bulk dedicated launches for government and commercial satellite operators, other singular dedicated and rideshare missions, and Rocket Lab's mission to the Moon for NASA on the upcoming CAPSTONE mission scheduled to launch from New Zealand in the first half of the year.”