Tonight (March 11) Rocket Lab will launch its second mission from the US and you can watch live.
The Rocket Lab Electron launcher is due to lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia tonight during a two-hour window that opens at 1800 EST (2300 GMT) as part of a mission the company is calling “Stronger Together” .
Watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly through the company. (will open in a new tab). Lighting is expected to begin around 5:40 pm EST (22:40 GMT).
And, if you live on the East Coast of the US, you might be able to see the launch with your own eyes. According to NASA Wallops, the Electron’s flight could be visible to observers as far south as Georgia, as far north as Maine, and as far west as Ohio, weather permitting. (will open in a new tab).
Related: Rocket Lab launches first Electron accelerator from US soil at dusk
Rocket Lab’s next launch from Wallops is scheduled for this Saturday, March 11, with a 6-8 pm EDT window. Our visitor center will not be open for this mission. The launch, weather permitting, could be seen on the east coast. https://t.co/Cycr58Zlns pic.twitter.com/BoTlRY3a2nMarch 7, 2023
The 59-foot-tall (18 meters) Electron carries two Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites for San Francisco-based Capella Space as part of the Stronger Together mission.
If all goes according to plan, the two spacecraft will be launched into a circular orbit 370 miles (600 kilometers) above Earth about 57.5 minutes after liftoff, the mission’s press kit said. (will open in a new tab).
The satellites will join the SAR Capella Space constellation, which provides customers with detailed images of the Earth both day and night, in all weather conditions.
These spacecraft enable “Capella Space to deliver the highest quality, highest resolution, commercially available SAR images with the fastest order-to-delivery time, enabling organizations in the public and private sectors to make informed and accurate decisions,” Rocket Lab wrote. press kit.
To date, Rocket Lab has launched 33 two-stage Electron orbital missions, all but one from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The only unusual flight, named “Virginia for Launch Lovers”, took off from Wallops on January 1st. 24 this year.
But Virginia for Launch Lovers won’t be an exception for long: Wallops’ site, Rocket Lab 2 (LC-2), will host launches regularly going forward.
The LC-2 is “designed to meet the space needs of commercial, civil, defense and national customers, supporting up to 12 missions per year,” Rocket Lab said in a statement. (will open in a new tab).
Rocket Lab has been working on making the first stage of the consumable Electron reusable; the company has recovered boosters on several previous missions, once even picking up a rocket falling from the sky with a helicopter. But according to the mission’s press kit, there will be no such recovery attempt.
Mike Wall is the author of Out There (will open in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrations by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or on facebook (will open in a new tab).