Rocket Lab will open a nine day launch window from Saturday, January 20, 2018 (NZDT), to carry out the company’s second test launch of the Electron rocket — during these dates, a four-hour launch window will open daily from 2:30 p.m. NZDT (1:30 UTC).
The test launch, titled Still Testing, will occur from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. It follows on from the successful inaugural Electron test that was carried out on May 25, 2017. Still Testing will carry an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for Planet and two Lemur-2 satellites for Spire Global for weather and ship tracking, enabling Rocket Lab to gather crucial data and test systems for the deployment stage of a mission.
The test launch attempt will only proceed if conditions are ideal for launch. Due to the nature of launching rockets, planned lift-offs are often subject to multiple and subsequent postponements, or scrubs, to allow for small, technical modifications and to wait for ideal weather conditions.
Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, said the test is an important next step in democratizing access to space to empower humanity. He noted that increased access to space will vastly improve humanity’s ability to build orbital infrastructure, such as constellations of weather and Earth-imaging satellites. These will provide more data about Earth and enable informed decisions about how mankind's impact can be better managed. This test launch is a crucial next step in gathering more data from Electron. Beck then added that, once again, multiple scrub times are expected as perfect conditions are waited for and to make certain everything on the vehicle is performing as it should.
The Still Testing launch attempt will be live streamed to the public. A live video stream will be available approximately 15 minutes prior to a launch attempt and will be viewable on YouTube and at www.rocketlabusa.com.