Rocket Lab christens first US launch pad with successful Electron launch for HawkEye 360

Rocket Lab LC-2 first launch

After about a three-year delay due to multiple reasons, Rocket Lab can now be added to the list of companies that launch out of the US. Yesterday the company lifted off from LC-2, its second launch complex out of Wallops Island, Virginia, a pad it started construction on in 2019.

Three new HawkEye satellites deployed into orbit

After delaying the launch due to bad weather in December, the launch date was moved to after the holidays in January, where a new window was set up. This was the company’s 30th successful launch since its first mission in 2017.

This mission carried three HawkEye 360 satellites into low Earth orbit to expand the company’s constellation of RF intelligence satellites. Initially, this first US launch of Electron was supposed to be for the Department of Defense. However, HawkEye turned out to be just as perfect for the inaugural launch as it is headquartered in Virginia.

The countdown was quiet and calm, running into no issues with the rocket and lifting off right at the opening of the launch window. There was a boat in the no go zone ahead of the launch, which led to the range being red during the T-30-minute poll. However, that boat was able to safely exit the zone by the final go/no go poll.

More to come from Rocket Lab

This is the first of many launches Rocket Lab expects to launch from LC-2 and LC-1 in New Zealand this year. This year we expect the SmallSat launch company to hit double digits for total launches as it strives to increase how many rockets it can build and launch in a single year.

Its next launch could be one of two upcoming Q1-dated missions, one for NASA out to LC-1 and one for Capella Space from LC-2. The later mission already has a rocket sitting and waiting in Virginia, so we will have to wait to see who is ready to launch first.

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