Lift-off of the 'In Focus' mission for Planet and Canon occurred at 21:21 UTC on October 28 2020 from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula.
Rocket Lab’s 15th launch, In Focus, will loft 10 satellites into a 500-kilometer low Earth orbit for Planet and Canon Electronics. Planet is an Earth imaging company based in San Francisco, California. Their 150 satellites provide daily high-resolution images of the Earth. Their latest satellite constellation, Flock 4e, was launched on Rocket Lab’s Pics Or It Didn’t Happen mission. However, the satellites never made it to orbit due to an issue with the second stage. Their Flock 4e constellation is now being launched on this mission. Canon Electronics is a camera company headquartered in Japan. Their experimental CE-SATE-IIB satellite is designed to test various camera technologies.
Rocket Lab successfully sends off Electron rocket from Hawke's Bay launchpad
The take-off, from Rocket Lab’s complex on the Mahia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay, is the Kiwi-American company’s fifth launch this year, and its 15th mission overall.
It makes Electron the second most-frequently launched US rocket in 2020.
It launched at 10.21am, and marks the third attempt of the launch after a minor tech glitch in October and another delay because of bad weather.
The “In Focus” mission carried Earth-imaging satellites for camera company Canon and US company Planet.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said the mission demonstrated the flexibility the Electron could give small satellite operators.
“With Electron, we designed a launch system that makes access to space easy and puts our customers in the driver’s seat of their missions, and we’re proud to be delivering on that even through times of global disruption.”
It comes as Rocket Lab’s 13th launch in July failed.
The company announced "the loss of the vehicle" at the time after the “Pics Or It Didn't Happen” mission successfully made it to orbit to deliver satellites - before the spacecraft went missing.
Beck said at the time it was the first launch failure by the company, and was confident it wasn’t going to affect the viability of the business.