How to watch Rocket Lab’s US Space Force satellite launch

The US Space Force is gearing up to launch a research and development satellite on Thursday with the help of Rocket Lab. The company’s Electron rocket is scheduled to launch from a site in New Zealand sometime between 2AM and 4AM ET (6PM-8PM local time) to take the Monolith satellite into low Earth orbit.

The aim of the mission, which is called “It’s a Little Chile Up Here” (a reference to the green chile from the Space Test Program’s New Mexico home), is to test small satellites for the Department of Defense. Monolith will help determine whether it’s large deployable sensors are feasible. Such sensors account for a significant proportion of a spacecraft’s total mass. Since the sensor may alter the spacecraft’s dynamic properties, the mission will examine whether it’s possible to maintain altitude control after the sensor has been deployed.

“Analysis from the use of a deployable sensor aims to enable the use of smaller satellite buses when building future deployable sensors such as weather satellites, thereby reducing the cost, complexity, and development timelines,” Rocket Lab wrote in a statement. “The satellite will also provide a platform to test future space protection capabilities.”

You can watch the launch as it happens on the Rocket Lab website. A stream may also be available on Rocket Lab’s YouTube channel.

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