'Shooting-Star' Satellite Going Up on Landmark Rocket Lab Launch This Month

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    Judi Lynn
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    By Mike Wall 12 hours ago Spaceflight

    Rocket Lab will test reusable rocket tech on the mission as well.

    Rocket Lab is scheduled to launch its 10th mission on Nov. 25, 2019. The flight, called “Running Out of Fingers,” will loft seven satellites, including one designed to create artificial meteor showers.

    (Image: © Rocket Lab)

    Rocket Lab’s 10th launch will be memorable in multiple ways.

    We already knew that the company’s Electron rocket will take some big strides toward reusability on the upcoming mission, which is scheduled to lift off from New Zealand on Nov. 25. And we just learned that Electron will loft seven satellites on this flight, including a small Japanese craft designed to create artificial meteor showers.

    The shooting-star satellite, known as ALE-2, was built by Tokyo-based company Astro Live Experiences as part of its “Sky Canvas” project. ALE-2 is 24 inches long by 24 inches wide by 31 inches tall (60 by 60 by 80 centimeters), weighs 165 lbs. (75 kilograms) and is packed with 400 0.4-inch (1 centimeter) spheres that are designed to burn up high in Earth’s atmosphere, creating a gorgeous sky show.

    “With this launch, we are a step closer to realiz[ing] the man-made shooting star,” Astro Live Experiences CEO Lena Okajima said in a statement. “Please look forward to the world’s first demonstration we are aiming [for] in 2020, which will be a major milestone for ALE.”

    As its name suggests, ALE-2 is the Japanese company’s second such satellite. The first, ALE-1, launched this January aboard a Japanese Epsilon rocket and is also scheduled to deploy its colorful sky pellets sometime in 2020, after some on-orbit tests, company representatives have said.


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