This Tuesday (24), Rocket Lab held its first launch in the United States. The Electron rocket launched at 8:00 pm ET from Wallops Flight Facility, NASA’s space launch facility, carrying three HawkEye 360 commercial satellites.
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The vehicle left the platform about 45 minutes after sunset at the site, heading over the Atlantic Ocean towards Earth orbit. The company confirmed that the three satellites were deployed as planned at about 550 km altitude, approximately one hour after launch.
Called “Virginia Is for Launch Lovers”, the launch was highly anticipated by the company that, until then, had been launching its missions with Electron from platforms in New Zealand. “We are incredibly excited about the capabilities we will bring to Virginia by delivering responsive rollouts for US customers,” said Peter Beck, the company’s CEO.
This mission was the first of three planned for the company HawkEye 360, which is building a constellation of small satellites for radio frequency monitoring. HawkEye hopes to have 15 satellites in space by 2024 through its partnership with Rocket Lab.
Rocket Lab plans to launch about one Electron rocket mission each month, continuing operations at the Wallops facility. In addition, the company is working on the development of the Neutron rocket, reusable and larger than the Electron, which should also be launched in Virginia. Neutron’s first flight should not happen before next year.
Source: Rocket Lab