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Courtesy of Rocket Lab

Long Beach-based reusable rocket startup Rocket Lab has inked a contract with satellite company HawkEye 360 to launch three payloads into space beginning as soon as December.

Using its Electron rocket, Rocket Lab will send 15 of Virginia-based HawkEye 360’s radio frequency monitoring satellites into low Earth orbit across three separate missions starting "no earlier than December 2022," the company said Tuesday. Rocket Lab did not disclose financial details of its contract with HawkEye 360.

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NASA’s Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory will continue to launch an array of missions next year as it works towards its goals of expanding humanity’s knowledge of both our solar system and the forces that formed and continue to shape our planet.

The NASA lab is run by Caltech and works on a number of projects each year that range from exploring the farthest reaches of our solar system to missions that seek to gain a better understanding of our planet’s ever-changing environment and atmosphere.

The Ingenuity helicopter and the Perseverance rover will continue to roam Mars until they die – which could be decades (the Curiosity rover launched in 2011 and is still active today).

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Meet the 10 Startups in Techstars' 2021 Space Accelerator Class

The past year has seen a rapid increase in space exploration, both by professional astronauts and those with enough money to afford a jaunt to the stars.

2021 may be remembered as the year wealthy travelers went to space in droves. The Who’s Who list includes Amazon exec Jeff Bezos, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and millionaires Michael Strahan and William Schatner. But that likely won’t be the end of space tourism.

Viewing the “pale blue dot” of our planet (as Carl Sagan once described it) is a life-changing experience few typically get to have, and it can often change a person’s perspective of their home forever.

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