Kleos Space, a radio frequency reconnaissance data provider, has announced that its Scouting Mission1 launch is confirmed for August 2019 on a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle.
The Kleos’ Scouting Mission satellites are set to enter a 500 km Sun Synchronous Orbit, forming the foundation of a constellation that will deliver a global picture of hidden maritime activity. The network is intended to enhance the intelligence capability of government and commercial entities when imagery is unclear or targets are out of patrol range.
All four satellites, each the size of a shoebox, have successfully completed all the necessary checks with the Rocket Lab’s in-house designed and built Maxwell dispenser, which is used for deployment from the Electron rocket's kick stage to low Earth orbit (LEO).
Satellite testing will conclude with a complete system test using specialist ground station equipment prior to a flight acceptance review and the final dispatch to the launch site on NZ's Mahia Peninsula.
Rocket Lab have advised that the 14-day launch window will be publicly announced roughly 20 days prior to the target launch date.
“We’re excited to give the Kleos Scouting Mission satellites a first-class ride to orbit on Electron," Rocket Lab’s Senior Vice President of Global Launch Services, Lars Hoffman, said. "We’ve worked closely with the Kleos team to design a tailored rideshare mission that lays the strong foundation for a future constellation.”
The Electron launch vehicle is powered by 3D-printed engines and has thus far delivered 28 satellites to orbit for customers including NASA, DARPA, as the US Department of Defense.
Sandy Tirtey, Rocket Lab's Director of Business Development Australia, recently told ADM that the company is ready to provide launch services for Australia's burgeoning satellite start-up scene.
“We're seeing some truly innovative satellite technology coming out of Australia. With a proven launch vehicle and an established launch site just next door, it's never been easier for Australian innovators, researchers and educational institutions to get their technology to orbit," Tirtey said.
The Rocket Lab launch site in NZ