Rocket Lab had a successful launch today that helped the company shake off its failed launch last month. The launch that happened today was the company’s 13th orbital launch, and the rocket performed flawlessly. This particular mission put the Sequoia satellite into orbit for Capella Space.
Rocket Lab confirmed a little after 4 PM New Zealand time that the launch was successful and the satellite had been successfully deployed. The satellite the rocket placed into orbit Wayne 100 kilograms and features a synthetic aperture radar. That radar will be used to build 3D scans of the Earth’s surface.
A satellite can detect the movement of objects small as 50 centimeters in diameter through clouds and at night. Capella signed a contract with the United States Department of Defense and May provide synthetic aperture radar data to the US Navy. The company also has partnerships with the US Air Force and US National Reconnaissance office.
Rocket Lab noted that the satellite can also be used for agricultural and infrastructure monitoring. It also serves a purpose for disaster response and recovery in addition to security purposes. The satellite was placed into an orbit that allows it to maximize coverage of the Middle East, Korea, Japan, Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the US.
It’s unclear when the satellite will be fully deployed and operational. In July, Rocket Lab lost a rocket and payload due to a faulty electrical connection in the second stage of the Electron rocket. But faulty connection caused the engine to shut down and the rocket and payload burned up on re-entry into the atmosphere. With Monday’s successful launch, the company put that failure behind it.