Rocket Lab Launches Second Set of TROPICS Satellites for NASA

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has successfully launched a constellation of tropical cyclone monitoring satellites for NASA. The ‘Coming To A Storm Near You’ launch lifted off on May 26th from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, deploying the final two CubeSats of NASA’s TROPICS constellation to orbit. The TROPICS CubeSats required launch to a specific orbit at an altitude of 550 kilometers and inclination of about 30 degrees, with all four satellites needing to be deployed into their operational orbit within a 60-day period ahead. Rocket Lab has now launched all four satellites across two dedicated launches within 18 days, enabling the TROPICS satellites to settle into their orbits and begin commissioning ahead of the 2023 North American storm season which begins in June. The constellation aims to help increase understanding of deadly storms and improve tropical cyclone forecasts.