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Rocket Lab Called Off Its Launch Of Experimental Satellite For DARPA

Satellite launch company Rocket Lab has cancelled its scheduled flight of experimental satellite that belonged to US Military or DARPA due to a video transmitter problem. As per their announcement on social media network Twitter, the team was counting down the launch of its Launch Complex 1 based Electronic booster located in Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand when the error occurred. They elaborated that a video transmitter 13dB was not functioning properly and though it would not affect the flight an in any way they wanted to understand why the object was not working before allowing it to fly so they delayed it for now.

The Electron payload is carrying prototype of R3D2 space antenna in its test flight for DARPA whose name was inspired by Star Wars and is shortened version of Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration. This spacecraft carries a unique antenna designed for packing easily in tight spaces which can deployed can unfurl to a span of 7.3 inches or 2.3 meters. This antenna weighing around 330 lbs, is made up of very thin Kapton membrane that will be tested for its effectiveness during this flight say DARPA officials.

The R3D2 will monitor dynamics of antenna deployment followed by its survivability and its radio frequency within the low earth orbit say officials of DARPA. This antenna can enable multiple space missions in the future which at present require large satellites to enable high data communications. This 150 kilogram satellite is the only payload and has been developed by Northrop Grumman while the antenna has been provided by MMA Design while satellite bus has been developed by Blue Canyon technologies. This delay is a setback for Rocket Lab as it was supposed to be the first of its 12 launches scheduled to be completed in 2019 and the second launch is scheduled in four to five weeks.

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