Rocket Lab successfully launched a payload on Friday from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from its launch complex on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.
The dedicated mission, named “Birds of a Feather,” was the first NRO mission ever launched outside of the United States. Rocket Lab is an American company based in California.
NRO awarded Rocket Lab the contract under its Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) program. RASR is focused on allowing the reconnaissance agency to explore the use of new launch vehicles on a streamlined, commercial basis.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck tweeted that the first stage made it through the atmosphere and down to the ocean for the second time. The company will attempt to use a helicopter to catch a stage during descent on a future flight.
It was Rocket Lab’s first launch of 2020 and the 10th success in 11 launch attempts of Electron. The booster first flew in May 2017.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has announced it will open a new facility which will serve as its Corporate Headquarters, provide incremental production capacity, and bring Mission Control Center capabilities to Long Beach, California.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., 20 January 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in small satellite launch, has announced today that it will launch a dedicated mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The launch window is scheduled to open on 31 January NZDT and the mission, called ‘Birds of a Feather,’ will lift off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1.
SEATTLE, December 11, 2019 (Spaceflight PR) - - Spaceflight, the leading provider of mission management and rideshare integration services, today announced it successfully executed nine missions in 2019, the most rideshare launches the company has performed in one year, representing a 300 percent growth from the previous year.
The company ended last year with its historic dedicated rideshare mission, SSO-A, and continued to execute many more firsts in 2019. This includes the most recent accomplishment of manifesting and managing three rideshare launches in one week on three continents. The final missions of 2019 were SEOPS-2 (ISS SpX-19/NG-12) launched in the U.S., RL-2 (Rocket Lab’s “Running Out of Fingers”) launched in New Zealand, and PSLV-C48 launched in India.
Huntington Beach, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has flown a fully Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) for the first time on an Electron launch vehicle. The AFTS flown on the company’s most recent mission, ‘Running Out Of Fingers’, makes Rocket Lab one of only three U.S. launch companies to fly with an autonomous system.
Ten months after the first pilings were driven in, Rocket Lab declared its new launch complex on Wallops Island, Va., open and ready to serve the U.S. military’s need for rapid response launches with the company’s Electron booster.
“We’re proud to call Wallops Island in Virginia our home. We’re very proud to deliver a new launch capability to the United States. We’re very proud to support U.S. missions with a U.S. launch vehicle on U.S. soil,” CEO Peter Beck said during a press conference.
A Rocket Lab next-generation Electron rocket blasted off from New Zealand on Friday, placing seven small satellites into Earth orbit and conducting the first test of a new reusable first stage.
The Electron’s 10th launch, nicknamed “Running Out of Fingers,” included six PocketQube micro-satellites measuring a mere 5 cm built by Alba Orbital. A seventh satellite built by a Japanese company will release particles that will create an artificial meteor shower.
Rocket Lab is moving its corporate headquarters up the California coastline to the same Long Beach business park that houses one of its main rivals, Virgin Orbit.
The Long Beach Business Journalreports the small satellite launch company is moving into the Douglas Park development from its current home in Huntington Beach. The company has leased 87,605-square-foot building.
Rocket Lab is the third launch provider to move to the park. Virgin Orbit established its operations there in 2015. SpinLaunch signed a lease in Douglas Park two months ago.
Rocket Lab is preparing for the 10th launch of its Electron launch vehicle later this week from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.
Virgin Galactic has not yet flown its LauncherOne booster, which is dropped from a modified Boeing 747. SpinLaunch rocket is also still in development.
CHANTILLY, Va., December 2, 2019 (TriSept PR) – TriSept Corporation, a leading provider of launch integration, management and brokerage services for commercial and government missions, today announced that it has been selected as a preferred provider to support NASA’s third round of CubeSat missions with dispenser hardware and integration services.
part of a five year, $18 million NASA indefinite delivery indefinite
quantity (IDIQ) contract, TriSept will be considered for CubeSat
mission integration services and dispenser hardware procurement in
support of upcoming CubeSat launches through 2025.
The mission will carry several commercial small sats to orbit before Electron’s upgraded first stage undertakes a guided re-entry in a significant step towards reusable Rocket Lab vehicles.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., November 5, 2019 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, announced today that its next mission will launch multiple microsatellites in a rideshare mission representing five different countries. The launch window for Rocket Lab’s tenth flight, named ‘Running Out Of Fingers,’ will open 25th November NZDT and take place from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.
SEATTLE, November 5, 2019 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it has arranged for Tokyo-based ALE to launch its entertainment and science satellite on Rocket Lab’s next Electron launch.
The mission, called “Running Out of Fingers” by Rocket Lab to signify its tenth mission, represents Spaceflight’s third launch with Rocket Lab this year. It follows the launch of seven spacecraft on its inaugural “Make it Rain” mission in June and three on the “Look Ma No Hands” mission in August.
Extended range Photon missions to medium, geostationary and lunar orbits will support deeper space exploration and the return of human presence on the moon
Washington DC, 21 October 2019 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today unveiled plans to support extended range missions to medium, geostationary, and lunar orbits with the company’s Photon satellite platform.