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Rocket Lab signs launch agreement with Planet


New Zealand launch provider Rocket Lab has signed a launch services agreement with earth-imaging satellite provider Planet. Under the deal, Planet will utilise at least three dedicated launches on Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle from its launch site on the Mahia Peninsula. Planet designs, builds and operates earth-imaging satellites and makes the satellite data available via web-based APIs and an online catalog. It joins other launch customers for the New Zealand site including maritime satellite data provider Spire, NASA and the Seattle-based Moon Express, which is planning to land a scientific payload on the moon. The agreement with Planet will see Electron used to expand and replenish its existing on-orbit fleet of Dove satellites. The launches are scheduled to begin in 2017. “Rocket Lab’s priority for Electron has always been to enable our customers by providing the affordable and frequent service they need to meet their objectives,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab CEO. “We look forward to working with Planet, who share our vision of seeing space infrastructure enhance how we use and understand our planet.” Rocket Lab, which has offices in both the US and Auckland, began construction of its orbital launch site in December last year. The test program for its Electron vehicle is scheduled to run throughout the second half of 2016. Geoff Long, Commsday.