Rocket Lab Launches NASA Climate Satellite

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB), a renowned name in launch services and space systems globally, has successfully initiated the first leg of NASA’s PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) mission, underscoring its pivotal role in climate change research.

Dubbed ‘Ready, Aim, PREFIRE,’ the mission soared from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand, at 7:41 pm NZST on May 25th, 2024. This launch marked the deployment of the initial satellite for the PREFIRE mission into a 525km circular Low Earth Orbit. With the first satellite securely in place, the next launch for the PREFIRE mission, titled ‘PREFIRE and Ice,’ is scheduled in just a few days, with the exact date set to be confirmed early next week.

The precision and reliability of Rocket Lab’s launch services are indispensable for PREFIRE’s success. The mission necessitates two satellites following synchronized trajectories to intersect near the Arctic and Antarctica every few hours, facilitating accurate heat loss measurements. Equipped with thermopiles akin to those in household thermostats, the PREFIRE satellites gather data on heat loss at far-infrared wavelengths, a domain previously unexplored systematically. This data holds the promise of refining climate and ice models, offering enhanced predictions regarding future changes in sea levels and weather patterns.

Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO, emphasized the significance of missions like PREFIRE, highlighting Electron’s capacity for dedicated launches tailored to precise orbits and schedules. He recalled a similar feat achieved with NASA’s TROPICS mission and expressed eagerness to replicate the success with PREFIRE. Stressing the vital role of climate-focused endeavors in safeguarding the planet’s future, Beck reiterated Rocket Lab’s commitment to supporting such initiatives through Electron’s capabilities.

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