Liftoff is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET tonight (Dec. 12).

Rocket Lab aims to bounce back tonight (Dec. 12) from a launch failure.

The company’s Electron rocket is scheduled to lift off from New Zealand during a two-hour window that opens tonight at 11 p.m. EST (0400 GMT and 5 p.m. New Zealand time on Dec. 13), carrying a satellite for the Japanese Earth-imaging company iQPS to orbit.

You can watch the launch live here at courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly via the company. Coverage is expected to begin 20 minutes before the launch window opens.

It will be Rocket Lab’s first launch since Sept. 19. Electron suffered an anomaly about 2.5 minutes into flight that day, resulting in the loss of one of San Francisco company Capella Space’s Earth-observing satellites.

Rocket Lab soon traced the problem to an unwanted “electrical arc,” which shorted out the battery packs that provide power to the 59-foot-tall (18 meters) Electron’s second stage. The company says it has implemented multiple corrective measures, including an enhanced testing regime here on Earth, to ensure the problem doesn’t crop up again.

Tonight’s mission, which Rocket Lab calls “The Moon God Awakens,” will deliver iQPS’ QPS-SAR-5 satellite to a circular orbit 357 miles (575 kilometers) above Earth, where it will join the QPS-SAR-6 craft. (QPS-SAR-5 is named Tsukoyomi-1 after the Japanese god of the moon, which explains Rocket Lab’s mission moniker.) 

“iQPS’s satellites are small, high-performance SAR [synthetic aperture radar] satellites that use a lightweight, large, stowable antenna to collect high-resolution images of Earth, even through clouds and adverse weather conditions,” Rocket Lab wrote in a mission description. “Ultimately, the iQPS constellation is planned to have 36 satellites capable of monitoring specific fixed points on Earth every 10 minutes.”

[12 Dec 2023] Rocket Lab returns to flight with satellite launch
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