Rocket Lab Delays Experimental DARPA Military Satellite Launch

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System Stay on target Rocket Lab, a small satellite launch company, recently scrubbed the planned flight for an experimental DARPA military satellite due to a video transmitter problem.On March 24, the company was ready to go for a 7:36 p.m. EST takeoff of its Electron booster from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand when the error took place, Rocket Lab said in a Twitter update. The team, “identified a video transmitter 13dB down with low performance,” and said, “It’s not an issue for flight, but we want to understand why, so we’re waiving off for the day.”The team has identified a video transmitter 13dB down with low performance. It’s not an issue for flight, but we want to understand why, so we’re waiving off for the day. We’ll assess and advise a new target lift-off time soon.— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) March 24, 2019Rocket Lab’s Electron booster is carrying a prototype R3D2 space antenna for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which, according to its website, aims, “to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.”Blue skies over Launch Complex 1 today. Weather is green for launch! The webcast for today’s mission will be live in approx 60 minutes. Lift-off is targeted for 23:36 UTC.— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) March 24, 2019R3D2 might sound like R2D2, the famous Star Wars droid, but it’s actually short for Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration. According to Rocket Lab’s website, the R3D2 antenna has a tissue-thin Kapton membrane, packs tightly inside the satellite during takeoff, and once it reaches low Earth orbit, will deploy to 2.25 meters in diameter.Welcome to launch day! On board Electron for today’s mission is the R3D2 spacecraft for @DARPA. This innovative mission intends to space-qualify a prototype reflect array antenna to improve radio communications in small spacecraft. Stay tuned for launch updates— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) March 24, 2019“R3D2 will monitor antenna deployment dynamics, survivability, and radio frequency (RF) characteristics of a membrane antenna in low-Earth orbit,” DARPA officials said in a press statement. “The antenna could enable multiple missions that currently require large satellites, to include high data rate communications to disadvantaged users on the ground.”Rocket Lab’s crews plan to fix the video transmitter issue before a second launch attempt, which is set to take place on March 26. The four-hour launch window will open at 6:30 p.m. EST, and once it takes off, the Electron booster will travel east from Rocket Lab’s launch base and the R3D2 satellite is expected to deploy from the Electron booster approximately 53 minutes into the flight, Spaceflight Now noted.More on Will Now Take You to ‘Mars on Earth’ High-Def Images Help Uncover Galaxy’s Oldest Star Cluster Scientists Study Health Benefits of Artificial Gravitylast_img

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