Rocket Lab successfully launches Acadia-1 on Electron using pre-flown engine

by | Aug 24, 2023 | Launches, Satellites

Rocket Lab successful launched an Electron at 2345 GMT on August 24, from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. The vehicle carried Acadia-1, a new generation Earth observation satellite from Capella Space. The Electron first stage splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and was successfully recovered by Rocket Lab.

In a first, Rocket Lab included a pre-flown engine among the nine Rutherford engines used for the launch. The reused engine had previously flown on an Electron launch in May 2022. The decision to reuse an engine may indicate that the company is close to reusing an entire booster, as Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck suggested in an earnings call earlier in the month.

The launch also marked the 40th for the Electron.

Update on 31 August: Rocket Lab’s CEO confirmed the company’s plans to launch an Electron with nine reusable engines – making its first stage fully reusable – in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter). The move comes as reusable rockets generate a lot of interest as the idea of  refurbishing and relaunching an existing rocket is attractive both in terms of sustainability and economically.

Rocket Lab’s launch is the first of four Electron launches to deploy Acadia, Capella Space’s SAR Earth-imaging satellites. Courtesy: Rocket Lab

Jonathan Freeman contributed to this story.

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