Rocket Lab successfully launches Space Force's Monolith satellite payload

Rocket Lab has successfully launched a payload for the US Space Force, the private space company announced today. The mission, which is called "It's a Little Chile Up Here," sent a demonstration satellite called Monolith to space for the US government. Unlike the company's May launch, this one happened without incident.

On July 29, Rocket Lab completed its dedicated mission for the USSF, sending a research and development satellite called Monolith into low Earth orbit. This satellite is designed to deploy a sensor with a mass that comprises a large part of the overall satellite's mass.

The satellite serves as a demonstration that paves the way for future use of deployable sensors featuring smaller satellite buses. This would be particularly useful for things like weather satellites, cutting costs and overall complexity while shortening the development timeline.

The launch took place using Rocket Lab's Electron rocket, marking the company's fourth launch in 2021. The mission took place from a New Zealand launch site around 2 AM ET under the Department of Defense's Space Test Program, as well as the Rocket Systems Launch Program.

The Electron rocket was used back in mid-May to launch a satellite payload for BlackSky Global, a geospatial intelligence company. Unfortunately, those two satellites were lost after an incident involving Electron's second stage, which resulted in mission failure.