Rocket Lab Triumphantly Sends First Climate Science Satellite for NASA into Orbit

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB), a prominent player in launch services and space systems worldwide, has achieved a significant milestone today by initiating the first of two consecutive launches for NASA’s PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) mission, focusing on climate change research.

Dubbed ‘Ready, Aim, PREFIRE,’ the mission took off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand at 7:41 pm NZST on May 25th, 2024. This launch marked the deployment of the initial satellite for the PREFIRE mission into a 525km circular Low Earth Orbit. Following this successful deployment, the second satellite is slated to be launched in a dedicated Electron launch in the coming days, with the precise launch date for the subsequent mission, ‘PREFIRE and Ice,’ to be confirmed early next week.

Rocket Lab’s capability to conduct tailored missions to specific orbits promptly is pivotal for the PREFIRE mission’s success. This endeavor necessitates two distinct satellites to follow congruent trajectories but on separate paths, aligning near the Arctic and Antarctica every few hours to gather precise heat loss measurements. Equipped with thermopiles akin to those in household thermostats, both PREFIRE satellites will gauge heat loss at far-infrared wavelengths, a data collection endeavor unprecedented in its systematic approach. This data will significantly enhance climate and ice models, offering more accurate predictions regarding future sea levels and weather patterns.

Peter Beck, the founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, emphasizes, “Missions like PREFIRE highlight Electron’s unparalleled advantage – dedicated launches for small satellites to precise orbits, on exact schedules. We’ve demonstrated this capability previously with the TROPICS mission and are thrilled to replicate it for PREFIRE. Climate-centric missions like this are imperative for comprehending and safeguarding the future of our planet. It’s an honor to support them through Electron.”

This successful mission marks Rocket Lab’s 48th Electron launch overall and its sixth launch in 2024.

For images and video footage from the launch, visit: Link

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