NASA Launch Coverage for Tropical Cyclones Mission


Image: A wet dress rehearsal is underway for Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket at Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand on April 28, 2023. Credits: NASA.

After the previous launch target date changed due to weather conditions in New Zealand, NASA and Rocket Lab are now targeting 9 p.m. EDT Sunday, May 7, (1 p.m. Monday, May 8, New Zealand Standard Time), to launch two storm tracking CubeSats into orbit.

The agency’s TROPICS (Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats) mission has a two-hour launch window from Launch Complex 1 Pad B in Māhia, New Zealand.

Rocket Lab will provide live coverage beginning approximately 20 minutes before launch. Coverage will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, the agency’s website, and Rocket Lab’s website.

A second launch from Rocket Lab will carry two additional CubeSats, with exact launch times contingent on the date and time of the first launch. TROPICS is a constellation of four identical CubeSats designed to observe tropical cyclones from low Earth orbit, making observations more frequently than current weather tracking satellites. Gathering data more frequently can help scientists improve weather forecasting models.

TROPICS will study tropical cyclones as part of NASA’s Earth Venture Class missions, which select targeted science missions to fill gaps in our overarching understanding of the entire Earth system.

Full coverage of this mission is as follows (all times Eastern):

Sunday, May 7

Approximately 8:40 p.m. – Live launch coverage begins

9 p.m. – Launch window opens

NASA website launch coverage

Follow countdown coverage on NASA’s launch blog for live updates beginning no earlier than 8 p.m. as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff on Rocket Lab’s website and Flickr. Imagery also is available on the NASA website.

Watch, engage on social media

Stay connected and receive mission updates by following and tagging these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA_LSP@NASAEarth@NASAKennedy@NASA@RocketLab

Facebook: NASANASA LSPRocketLabUSA

Instagram: @NASA@NASAEarth@RocketLabUSA

The TROPICS team is led by Dr. William Blackwell at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, and includes researchers from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several universities and commercial partners. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is managing the launch service.

For more information about NASA’s TROPICS, visit:


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