Rocket Lab is set to launch Tuesday at 6:55 p.m. NZST (2:55 a.m. EDT / 0655 UTC) to launch the second of four next-generation radar imaging satellites for Capella Space aboard an Electron rocket from New Zealand.
After lifting off from Pad B at Rocket Lab’s private launch site on the Mahia Peninsula, the expendable Electron rocket, powered by nine Rutherford first-stage engines, will fly on a southeast trajectory and aim for a 635 km circular orbit. inclined at an angle of 53 degrees to the equator. This will be the 41st orbital mission of the Electron rocket, and in 2023 – ninth.
Artist’s impression of Capella’s radar imaging satellite Acadia. Image: Capella. After burning for two minutes and 25 seconds, the Electron’s first stage would separate and the second single Ruthford vacuum engine would ignite and continue the rocket’s ascent. After reaching the parking orbit, the second stage will be a little more than nine minutes from the flight.
After about 44 minutes of rolling, the Curie engine of the Electron kick stage will ignite for three minutes to reach the intended orbit. The Arcadia-2 satellite will separate approximately 57 minutes, 15 seconds into the flyby.
The Acadia-2 satellite is pictured before encapsulation into the payload fairing of an Electron rocket. Image: Rocket Lab. Rocket Lab 2023 August 23 launched the first of a series of four Acadia satellites with a recoverable Electron rocket. Capella Space reported a “flawless launch” of the satellite within a week of reaching orbit. August 31 the company released the first satellite cloud-penetrating radar images of roller coasters at amusement parks in the US and Japan.
Acadia-1 view of Nagashima Spa Land, an amusement park and holiday resort in Kuwana, Mie, Japan. This image features the Steel Dragon 2000 roller coaster. The height of the roller coaster is visible despite the high angle of the drop. Image: Capella Space. Acadia is a third-generation radar imaging satellite operated by Capella Space. Its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) can image the Earth’s surface day and night, penetrating clouds, fog, smoke and rain. The spacecraft is equipped with larger solar panels and batteries to power a more powerful radar system that provides more bandwidth than the company’s previous Whitney-class satellites.