Update, Aug. 19: Rocket Lab is now targeting an 8:12 a.m. EDT (1212 GMT) launch on Monday, Aug. 19, for the "Look Ma, No Hands" mission. The webcast will begin at about 7:55 a.m. EDT (1155 GMT).
We are standing down from today's launch attempt due to weather. Surface level winds are 30% over limit. We have plenty of back up opportunities in the coming days though. A new target launch day/time will be advised soon.August 16, 2019
A Rocket Lab Electron booster will launch a quartet of satellites into orbit Friday (Aug. 16) and you can watch it all live online.
The Electron rocket is scheduled to loft the four satellites at 9:29 a.m. EDT (1329 GMT) from Rocket Lab's launch site on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand, where the local time at liftoff will be 1:29 a.m. on Saturday. Rocket Lab's launch window for the mission is one hour and 40 minutes.
"This will be another beautiful night launch at LC-1!" Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said in a Twitter update, referring to the company's Launch Complex 1. "Should be visible for miles as it ascends to orbit against the night sky."
You can watch the Rocket Lab launch on Space.com here courtesy of Rocket Lab. You can also watch the launch directly from Rocket Lab's livestream website here (opens in new tab). The webcast will begin about 15 minutes before launch time.
Related: Rocket Lab's Wild Plan to Catch Falling Booster in Mid-Air (opens in new tab)
Today's launch will be Rocket Lab's eighth mission and bears the whimsical name "Look Ma, No Hands." (The Huntington Beach, California-based company has picked wild names for all its launches.)
On this mission, the Electron will launch the first cubesat for the French company UnseenLabs, which aims to build a constellation of small satellites to provide maritime surveillance of Earth's oceans.
Rocket Lab will also launch the BlackSky Global-4 Earth-imaging satellite, the second such satellite launched by Rocket Lab for Black Sky this year. (An Electron launched BlackSky's Global-3 in June.)
The final two cubesats aboard Electron are technology-demonstration spacecraft built by the U.S. Air Force Space Command's Pearl White program. They will serve as an "on-orbit testbed for emerging technologies in 2019," Air Force officials said in a statement. The launch of the BlackSky satellite and Air Force cubesats were arranged by the space rideshare company Spaceflight.
"The demonstration will test new technologies including propulsion, power, communications and drag capabilities for potential applications on future spacecraft," Air Force officials said. The two satellites were built by Tiger Innovations Inc. in Herndon, Virginia and should last about a year in orbit, they added.
Rocket Lab's Electron booster is a two-stage rocket that stands 57 feet tall (15 meters). It is designed to haul payloads of up to 500 lbs. (227 kilograms) to orbit for each mission, which Rocket Lab markets at $5 million per flight.
On "Look Ma, No Hands," Rocket Lab will carry an advanced data recorder called "Brutus" to collect data on the Electron's first stage as it falls back to Earth after separating from the second stage. Rocket Lab will use the data collected by "Brutus" to aid its new project to reuse Electron boosters on multiple flights.
Rocket Lab announced its reusable Electron booster project last week at the 2019 Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah. Under the plan, Rocket Lab is developing a mid-air recovery system to catch Electron first-stage boosters as they fall back to Earth under a parachute. The boosters will then be refurbished and flown again on a future flight.
This story has been updated to include the new launch time for Rocket Lab's Electron rocket.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that six satellites were riding aboard Rocket Lab's "Look Ma, No Hands" mission. The mission is actually carrying four satellites.
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