Rocket Lab Swaps Customers; Early Launch for Astro Digital

Rocket Lab Swaps Customers; Early Launch for Astro Digital

Astro Digital was supposed to launch on a much later date, but grabbed up the opportunity when another undisclosed customer of Rocket Lab asked for postponing the launch. Rocket Lab has nicknamed the mission 'As the Crow Flies' after Astro Digital's Corvus Platform, Corvus being a large genus of birds that includes crows.

FREMONT, CA: Private spaceflight company Rocket Lab is set to launch a small satellite for California-based firm Astro Digital from New Zealand next week. The launch was scheduled after the last-minute swap by for the commercial launch company.

Rocket Lab's Electron booster will launch from the company's Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand's Māhia Peninsula, by October 15. The satellite for Astro Digital's Corvus Platform will be the fifth flight for Rocket Lab in 2019. Rocket Lab has nicknamed the mission 'As the Crow Flies' after Astro Digital's Corvus Platform, Corvus being a large genus of birds that includes crows. This is keeping in tradition with Rocket Lab and their concept of picking wild names for its Electron missions.

"By manufacturing standard Electron launch vehicles, rather than rockets tailored to specific missions, Rocket Lab can facilitate rapid manifest changes that support the responsive needs of small satellite operators. Rocket Lab augments this flexibility by operating the world’s only private orbital launch range, providing small satellite customers with unmatched launch schedule control," Rocket Lab said in a statement.

California-based Astro Digital is a satellite manufacturer and operator that provides CubeSats and small satellites for Earth observation, satellite communications, and technology demonstration missions. Astro Digital was supposed to launch on a much later date, but grabbed up the opportunity when another undisclosed customer of Rocket Lab asked for postponing the launch. 'As the Crow Flies' marks Rocket Lab's ninth electron mission since its electron boosters became active in 2017.

"We are honored Astro Digital has selected Rocket Lab as the launch provider for their dedicated mission," Lars Hoffman, Rocket Lab's senior vice president of global launch services, said in the statement. "With Electron and our own launch sites, Rocket Lab is uniquely placed to give small satellite operators complete control over their own launch schedule and orbital requirements," he added.

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