Rocket Lab will launch its second mission from the US tonight (March 11), and you can watch the action live.
A RocketLab The electron launcher is scheduled to depart from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia tonight during a two-hour window that opens at 6 pm EST (2300 GMT), on a mission the company calls “Stronger Together.”
Watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly through the company (opens in new tab). Coverage is expected to begin around 5:40 pm EST (2240 GMT).
And, if you live along the US East Coast, you might be able to see the launch firsthand. The flight of the Electron can be seen by observers as far south as Georgia, as far north as Maine and as far west as Ohio, weather permitting, according to NASA Wallops officials (opens in new tab).
Related: Rocket Lab launches 1st Electron booster from US soil at twilight liftoff
Rocket Lab’s next launch from Wallops is scheduled for this Saturday, March 11, with a window of 6-8 pm EST. Our visitor center is not open for this mission. The launch, weather permitting, could see those along the East Coast. https://t.co/Cycr58Zlns pic.twitter.com/BoTlRY3a2nMarch 7, 2023
The 59-foot-tall (18 meters) Electron is carrying two synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites for the San Francisco-based company Capella Space on the “Stronger Together” mission.
If all goes according to plan, the two spacecraft will be deployed into a circular orbit 370 miles (600 kilometers) above Earth about 57.5 minutes after liftoff, according to mission press kit (opens in new tab).
The satellites will join Capella Space’s SAR constellation, providing customers with detailed image of Earth both day and night, in all weather conditions.
This spacecraft enables “Capella Space to deliver the highest quality, highest resolution SAR imagery commercially available with the fastest order-to-delivery time, empowering organizations to public and private sectors to make smart, accurate decisions,” Rocket Lab representatives wrote in the press kit.
Rocket Lab has launched 33 orbital missions with the two-stage Electron to date, all but one of them from its Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The lone outlier, a flight named “Virginia Is for Launch Lovers,” took off from Wallops on January 24 of this year.
But “Virginia Is for Launch Lovers” won’t be an outlier for long: The Wallops site, Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 (LC-2), will host liftoffs on a regular basis in the future.
LC-2 “is designed to serve the responsive space needs of commercial, civil, defense, and national security customers, supporting up to 12 missions per year,” Rocket Lab wrote in a statement (opens in new tab).
Rocket Lab is working to rebuild the spent Electron first stage; the company has recovered boosters on several previous missions, though plucking a falling rocket from the sky with a helicopter at one time. But there was no such recovery attempt in “Stronger Together,” according to the mission press kit.
Mike Wall is the author of “There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or to Facebook (opens in new tab).