Rocket Lab said Thursday the upcoming “Running Out of Toes” mission will serve as the 20th launch for Electron and is scheduled to take place in May from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.
As part of the mission, Electron will send two satellites that will join BlackSky’s constellation of Earth-observation spacecraft.
Rocket Lab will attempt to recover an intact Electron vehicle to help establish the platform as the first orbital small rocket with reusable properties.
During its return trip to Earth, the company will slow down the rocket designed to travel at supersonic speeds of more than Mach 8. Electron will use a circular parachute once it reaches subsonic speeds.
Peter Beck, CEO and founder of Rocket Lab, said the operation will build on the recovery of the Electron rocket during the “Return to Sender” mission which took off in November 2020.
Rocket Lab expects the upcoming recovery operation to enable the rapid turnaround of small satellites.