Rocket Like A Hurricane
On May 8th, 2023, Rocket Lab successfully completed the first of two launches to deploy NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission across two separate Electron launches.
The first mission - Rocket Like A Hurricane - was Rocket Lab's 36th Electron launch overall and lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The second mission - Coming To A Storm Near You - is scheduled to launch from the same location in mid-late May 2023.
NASA’s TROPICS constellation will monitor the formation and evolution of tropical cyclones, including hurricanes, and will provide rapidly updating observations of storm intensity. This data will help scientists better understand the processes that effect these high-impact storms, ultimately leading to improved modelling and prediction.
The constellation, which is part of NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program, consists of four CubeSats that require launch to a specific orbit at an altitude of 550 kilometers and inclination of about 30 degrees. All four satellites need to be deployed into their operational orbit within a 60-day period, making Electron the ideal launch vehicle as it enables dedicated launch to unique orbits on highly responsive timelines. The two missions were initially scheduled to lift-off from Launch Complex 2 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia but will now take place at Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand to support a Q2 launch window that will see the satellites reach orbit in time for the North American 2023 hurricane season.
More info on TROPICS: Mission Overview | TROPICS (mit.edu)
All your mission information available here