On Mar. 16, 2023, Rocket Lab successfully delivered two satellites to low Earth orbit for Capella Space.
“Stronger Together” was Rocket Lab’s second Electron mission from its dedicated launch pad at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 (LC-2) on Wallops Island, Virginia.
The two satellites are part of Capella’s Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) constellation that provides 24-hour Earth observation and delivers the highest quality, highest resolution imagery commercially available with the fastest order-to-delivery time.
SAR’s unique ability is to penetrate atmospheric conditions, providing near real-time visibility in cloud-covered areas, both day and night.
These capabilities have a wide variety of applications including verifying damage claims for the insurance industry, detecting illegal activities for maritime authorities, and mapping natural disaster damage for humanitarian organizations.
This was the company’s second launch with Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle after the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical” mission in 2020.
Capella Space is an American satellite manufacturer and Earth observation company for government and commercial use. It is the first US company with a constellation of Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites, delivering the best quality, highest resolution SAR imagery commercially available.
Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is NASA’s rocket launch site on Wallops Island in Virginia (US).
WFF is operated by the Goddard Space Flight Center and is used for science and exploration missions for NASA and other Federal agencies.
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility provides agile, low-cost flight and launch range services to meet government and commercial sector needs. It supports launches of more than a dozen types of rockets: small expendable suborbital and orbital rockets, high-altitude balloon flights carrying scientific instruments for atmospheric and astronomical research, and using its Research Airport, it can support flight tests of aeronautical research aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles.
The WFF includes the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) where is located Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2, built in 2019. MARS is owned and operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and hosts three active launch pads.
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is a space company that delivers reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier, and more affordable to access space.
The company designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, and the Photon satellite platform. It is also developing the Neutron 13-ton payload class launch vehicle with a fully reusable first stage.
Since its first orbital launch in 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched US rocket annually and has delivered more than 150 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications.
Rocket Lab has three launch pads: two at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third in Virginia (Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2).