Rocket Lab completes fit check for NASA VCLS ELaNa XIX mission

Early this month, Rocket Lab performed a successful fit check of the CubeSat dispensers for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service flight of the CubeSat Launch Initiative Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIX mission. The fit check was carried out at Rocket Lab’s Huntington Beach payload integration cleanroom.

Venture Class launches aim to provide dedicated launches for CubeSats that would normally fly as secondary payloads, enabling these science missions to get exactly where they need to go on orbit.

The fit check was performed between a Rocket Lab Electron Payload Plate - the interface between Electron and the payloads - and a series of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and Planetary Systems Corporation dispensers. Teams from Tyvak and Rocket Lab participated in the fit check.

Fit checks provide valuable risk reduction in payload integration by verifying physical interfaces and allowing for a dry run of installation procedures prior to the launch campaign.

The Huntington Beach Payload Integration Cleanroom is a Class 100k cleanroom located in our Rocket Lab USA Headquarters. This cleanroom is used for payloads that are processed in the United States before being shipped to their final launch site, such as Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The facility will be used for the processing of the NASA ELaNa XIX payloads, which will be integrated to their dispensers in the United States before shipment to the launch site later this year for installation on Electron.

The Electron Payload Plate is a customizable interface which can support a variety of CubeSat and Microsatellite dispensers and separation systems. The Payload Plate can be entirely removed from Electron, allowing for integration to occur away from the launch site, such as in our Huntington Beach cleanroom or at a remote customer facility. Rocket Lab can accommodate both single and multipayload configurations on the plate.

The target launch date for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service ELaNa XIX mission is yet to be announced. The launch will see the following CubeSats deployed:

CubeSat: Ceres
Organization: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

CubeSat: STF-1
Organization: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

CubeSat: CubeSail
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Organization: University of Florida

CubeSat: NMTSat
Organization: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

CubeSat: DaVinci
Organization: North Idaho STEM Charter Academy

CubeSat: Rsat
Organization: U. S. Naval Academy

CubeSat: ISX
Organization: California Polytechnic State University

CubeSat: Shields-1
Organization: NASA Langley Research Center

CubeSat: ALBus
Organization: NASA Glenn Research Center

CubeSat: SHFT-1
Organization: NASA JPL