Canon's ‘space cam­era' to be put into or­bit from Mahia

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - Andrew Ashton andrew.ashton@hbto­day.co.nz

Just 10 days out from of­fi­cially open­ing a launch win­dow for it first ful­ly­commer­cial rocket launch from Mahia, Rocket Lab has signed a deal for three other mis­sions to put more satel­lites into or­bit.

Fol­low­ing a new deal be­tween USbased Rocket Lab and mission man­age­ment provider Space­flight for three or­bital launches be­fore the end of next year, a spokes­woman for Rocket Lab con­firmed to Hawke’s Bay

To­day that its Mahia launch ser­vice cus­tomer man­i­fest was now fully booked for the re­main­der of 2018.

“We are aim­ing for a launch per month by the end 2018, and the man­i­fest is fully booked with cus­tomers for this. Head­ing into 2019, we’re work­ing to­wards a launch once ev­ery two weeks and the ma­jor­ity of th­ese flights are booked with cus­tomers.”

The first mission, un­der the new part­ner­ship with Space­flight, sched­uled for the end of 2018, would launch a Black­Sky mi­crosat along with sev­eral rideshare cus­tomers.

The sec­ond launch will be a com­mer­cial rideshare mission in early 2019.

In ad­di­tion, Rocket Lab and Space­flight also signed a let­ter of agree­ment, ex­pected to be fi­nalised in the next few weeks, for a third mission that would put a mini satel­lite from elec­tron­ics gi­ant Canon into or­bit, by the end of next year.

The CE-SAT-I Mark II is an Earthimag­ing mi­cro satel­lite de­vel­oped by Canon Elec­tron­ics.

It fol­lows on from the suc­cess­ful launch of Canon Elec­tron­ics’ first ex­per­i­men­tal CE-SAT-I in 2017. CE-SATII is a mass pro­duc­tion model equipped with two cam­eras with dif­fer­ent res­o­lu­tions.

Pub­licly an­nounced launch cus­tomers to-date in­clude Spire, Ty­vak Nano-Satel­lite Sys­tems, Irvine CubeSat Stem Pro­gram, Nasa, Moon Ex­press and Space­flight (in­clud­ing their mis­sions for Black­Sky and Canon Elec­tron­ics).

The or­bital launch provider Rocket Lab pre­vi­ously con­firmed the new launch win­dow for its com­ing ‘It’s Busi­ness Time’ mission, which in­cludes plans to put into or­bit a spe­cial “drag sail” de­vice, de­signed by High Per­for­mance Space Struc­ture Sys­tems in Ger­many, to “de-or­bit” in­ac­tive small satel­lites, would start from June 23.

The “It’s Busi­ness Time” launch will in­clude a test of the drag-sail de­vice, which is small, ul­tra-thin mem­brane sail that can be stored tightly within a space­craft and then deployed once the satel­lite reaches the end of its or­bital life­span.

The re­flec­tive pan­els un­fold to 2.5 sq m to in­crease the space­craft’s sur­face area, caus­ing it to ex­pe­ri­ence greater drag and pull the satel­lite back into the Earth’s at­mos­phere, en­abling much faster de-or­bit­ing and re­duc­ing the amount of space junk in Low Earth Or­bit.

Photo / Rocket Lab

Dr Thomas Sinn and Hugo Gar­cia Hemme from High Per­for­mance Space Struc­ture Sys­tems show their drag sail sub­sys­tem cre­ated to pas­sively de­or­bit in­ac­tive small satel­lites.

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