Electron • ‘Beginning Of The Swarm’

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket launched a pair of satellites on behalf of both NASA and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). KAIST’s NEONSAT-1 is the primary payload and is described as “an Earth observation satellite with a high-resolution optical camera designed to monitor for natural disasters along the Korean Peninsula by pairing its images with artificial intelligence.” Additional NEOSAT satellites will be launched n 2026 and 2027. NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) is the secondary payload. It’s a technology demonstration that is geared to show off materials that can be used for solar sail propulsion. NASA “plans to test the deployment of new composite booms that will unfurl the solar sail to measure approximately 30 feet per side, or about the size of a small apartment in total. Flight data obtained during the demonstration will be used for designing future larger-scale composite solar sail systems for space weather early warning satellites, asteroid and other small body reconnaissance missions, and missions to observe the polar regions of the sun.”