Two and half months experiencing an anomoly on its last mission, and after being approved by the FAA to resume launches, Rocket Lab successfully returned to flight with “It’s a Little Chile Up Here” launch today.
Today’s launch was the fourth of the year for Rocket Lab and its 21st launch overall.
The payload today was an Air Force Research Laboratory demonstration satellite called Monolith. The mission got its name because of the “beloved green chile of New Mexico where the Space Test Program is based.”
According to Rocket Lab “the satellite will explore and demonstrate the use of a deployable sensor, where the sensor’s mass is a substantial fraction of the total mass of the spacecraft, changing the spacecraft’s dynamic properties and testing ability to maintain spacecraft attitude control. Analysis from the use of a deployable sensor aims to enable the use of smaller satellite buses when building future deployable sensors such as weather satellites, thereby reducing the cost, complexity, and development timelines. The satellite will also provide a platform to test future space protection capabilities.”
“The mission was procured by the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program (STP) and the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP), both based at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.; in partnership with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) as part of the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative (RALI). The mission is being managed by the Launch Enterprise’s Small Launch and Targets Division, which is part of the USSF’s launch organization of choice.”
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said, “Congratulations to all the teams behind Monolith. We’re proud to have safely delivered another mission to orbit for the United States Space Force. Programs like the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative are shining a light on the crucial role small launch can play in supporting fast-paced innovation in orbit to support innovation and space capabilities.”
Watch a replay of the “It’s a Little Chile Up” Here launch