Rocket Lab is currently targeting no earlier than December 13th for the launch of the mission, The Moon God Awakens from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.
The company is in the midst of its return to flight following the mishap that occurred during its prior launch in September 2023.
Payload integration is complete for our 42nd Electron launch!
We’ve got a final step to clear before launch day – completing a wet dress rehearsal to confirm all systems are ready for lift-off. As such, we’re currently targeting no earlier than 13 Dec NZT for the launch of The… pic.twitter.com/0dz60wkxrw
— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) November 26, 2023
Most recently, they announced that they have integrated the payload from iQPS onto their payload adapter, which will also utilize Rocket Lab’s Mark II Motorized Lightband as the separation method from the kickstage.
The payload from iQPS is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite named TSUKUYOMI-I. The satellite will be launched into a 42-degree orbital inclination. Currently, iQPS has one other SAR satellite in orbit, but this will be the 2nd of a planned 36 satellite constellation to be launched. The satellites will be capable of snapping a photo of specific points around the planet roughly every 10 minutes.
As for Rocket Lab, which recently released its Q3 financial results, it revealed the cause of the issue that resulted in the loss of the last mission. With the 1.6 seconds of data they gathered before communication was lost with the 2nd stage of Electron, the company was able to determine an electrical arc cut power to the battery packs in an incredibly rare set of conditions where an arc can form in a vacuum.
Rocket Lab has made its corrective changes and is moving towards its 10th flight of the year and 42nd mission overall. As of this writing, they are not planning to recover the first stage. If this launch gets off the ground successfully, it’ll be the most launches in one calendar year for the company.
Disclosure: Richard Angle is not an RKLB shareholder.