NASA’s CAPSTONE takes flight, kicking off the Artemis program

rocket lab capstone sunset

Rocket Lab launched the first Artemis program mission, called CAPSTONE, from its launch site in New Zealand on June 28. Its purpose? Testing out the orbit and procedures for where NASA’s proposed Gateway space station will be.

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NASA CAPSTONE: Rocket Lab launches first official Artemis mission to the Moon – Launch Spotlight

Rocket Lab launched NASA’s CAPSTONE mission to the Moon Tuesday, June 28 at 5:55 a.m. EDT. The mission was originally planned to launch from Rocket Lab’s Wallops Island but due to the pad not being ready for service the mission was moved to LC-1 at the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand.

Watch Rocket Lab catch (and then drop) an Electron rocket first stage [Video]

Rocket Lab attempted an air recovery of the first stage of its Electron rocket during the recent “There and Back Again” mission. The company just released new video of the mission, including video from the rocket during the catch.

Rocket Lab drops first caught Electron booster, but it’s not a failure

Earlier today, Rocket Lab launched its ‘There and Back Again’ mission. This was the first Electron launch to feature an air-based recovery, using a helicopter to catch the first stage that was descending under parachute. While the catch seemed good, and Rocket Lab confirmed success, groans heard from mission control made it clear that all was not quite as expected.

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Rocket Lab successfully catches falling rocket with helicopter during ‘There and Back Again’ mission [Update: Not quite]

Reusability is a growing trend in spaceflight – from reusable capsules, space planes, and rocket boosters. Rocket Lab is going all-in on reusability with its Neutron rocket, as is SpaceX with its Starship, but before then, Rocket Lab has adapted and improved its Electron rocket for recovery and reuse.

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Launch Spotlight: There And Back Again – Rocket Lab attempts first air recovery of Electron

Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket from LC-1A at its private launch site in New Zealand on May 2, 2022, at 6:49 p.m. EDT. This launch will carry 34 payloads to a Sun-Synchronous Orbit. The window extends until 8:40 p.m. EDT.

Rocket Lab to launch first Electron rocket from Virginia NET December 2022

Rocket Lab announced a new agreement to launch fifteen satellites for HawkEye 360, a Virginia-based geospatial analytics company. The first of these mission, which will be a rideshare mission, is expected to launch no earlier than December 2022, and will be the company’s first launch from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.

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Rocket Lab & NASA break ground on facility for Neutron, Rocket Lab’s reusable ‘mega constellation launcher’

In a ceremony on Monday, Rocket Lab broke ground on a new facility for the company’s upcoming Neutron rocket. Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck was joined by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, the director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Dennis Andrucyk, the director of Wallops Flight Facility Dave Pierce, and others for the groundbreaking ceremony.

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Rocket Lab will attempt to catch its first rocket booster later this month, here’s how

Announced on April 2, Rocket Lab‘s next launch of its Electron rocket will feature the first stage mid-air recovery of the rocket’s first stage. Here is how Rocket Lab will attempt to catch and reuse its smallsat rockets.

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Launch spotlight: Rocket Lab to launch ‘Without Mission A Beat’

Rocket Lab are set to launch two BlackSky satellites to orbit from Launch Complex-1A on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Liftoff is set for April 2 at 12:10 UTC.

Rocket Lab officially selects Virginia for the home of its Neutron rocket; construction to begin promptly

Rocket Lab announced on February 28 that it will build, launch, and land its Neutron rocket in Virginia near NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and the company’s US-based launch complex.

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Rocket Lab’s new launch pad is complete and ready to launch next week

Rocket Lab has been working on adding multiple launch locations for its Electron rocket for the past few years. Finally, the company’s second pad in New Zealand is ready, and Rocket Lab is showing it off with dual rockets.

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Catching falling rockets with a helicopter: Rocket Lab’s method of reusability

Reusability in spaceflight is increasing. While SpaceX has been able to reuse the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket by landing them, Rocket Lab is taking a different sort of approach with its Electron rocket: deploying a parachute and using a helicopter to scoop them out of the air.

It’s certainly a different approach than landing, but Rocket Lab teams are hard at work making this reusability a reality.

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Rocket Lab announces first launch of 2022

Rocket Lab, everyone’s favorite US / New Zealand-based smallsat launcher, announced the first launch of its Electron rocket for the year, and yes, it’s going to be BlackSky satellites.

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Russia, Rocket Lab, and SpaceX: 3 launches from 3 continents in 24-hours

Starting Wednesday morning, we saw three launches from three different continents within 24 hours. It all started in Russia with a launch to the International Space Station on a Soyuz rocket.

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Raptor production nightmare, Starship at LC-39A, Neutron rocket details & more top stories

This week we saw new contracts from NASA, Rocket Lab’s groundbreaking design for Neutron, SpaceX pizza, and oh yeah there was an email from Elon Musk about Starship. Catch up on this week’s top stories below.

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Here’s what Rocket Lab’s big Neutron reveal is all about

As promised, Rocket Lab gave us the details on its next generation rocket called Neutron. One thing that’s certain is everything has changed compared to its current Electron launch system.

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NASA’s DART launches, new shiny Electron booster, and more top stories

On this Thanksgiving week we had some major events and updates come from the spaceflight industry. Catch up on what happened below.

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Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck shows off new shiny Electron, praises reusability

This week, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck shared his thoughts on reusable rockets and shared a new shiny Electron design during a press conference.

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Major Neutron announcement coming December 2, says Rocket Lab

The company that disrupted the smallsat launch industry with its dedicated launcher plans to make the jump to a medium-class launcher. Rocket Lab announced the update would take place on December 2. Read below to learn what we know so far about Rocket Lab’s upcoming Neutron launcher.

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Launch Thread: Rocket Lab to launch two BlackSky satellites and attempt third booster recovery [Update: Launch delayed]

A few hours after the launch of SpaceX’s Crew-3, Rocket Lab plans to launch one of its rockets from New Zealand. The California-headquartered small satellite launcher will use its Electron rocket to place two second-generation BlackSky satellites into orbit. Electron’s launch will also sport a booster recovery. This will be Rocket Lab’s third recovery of an Electron booster and will be the first to have a helicopter nearby. While the booster will not be caught by the helicopter, instead, it will splashdown in the ocean. This is a step towards mid-air capture by a helicopter.

Date: Tuesday, November 16

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Rocket Lab announces back-to-back launch windows

Rocket Lab announced launch windows for their upcoming back-to-back launches for BlackSky. The missions will both launch from LC-1, one of their launch facilities in New Zealand.

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Rocket Lab to launch orbital debris removal mission for Astroscale

Rocket Lab, an American small sat launcher, won a contract to launch a demonstration mission for Astroscale. The mission will demonstrate Astroscales active debris removal for phase one of JAXA’s Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration Project.

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Rocket Lab announces contract to launch entire constellation for Kinéis

The California-based smallsat launcher, Rocket Lab, announced Wednesday that they will be launching 5 missions for Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity provider Kinéis. This will make Rocket Lab the exclusive launcher of Kinéis’

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Rocket Lab to push themselves with three quick successive launches

The dedicated smallsat launcher, Rocket Lab, announced last Tuesday that they will try to push their launch schedule with a rapid succession of missions starting later this month.

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[Update: Launched] Rocket Lab planning its return to flight Electron mission

After a failure in the second stage during their “Running Out Of Toes” mission earlier this year. Rocket Lab is planning to return with a now improved system this week. The mission will carry a test satellite for the United States Space Force to evaluate new sensor technology. In tradition with Rocket Lab’s fun naming style, this launch will be named “It’s A Little Chile Up Here”. This is in honor of the green chile of New Mexico where the Space Force’s Space Test Program is based.

Date: Thursday, July 29th at 4:00 a.m. EDT (2-hour window)

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Top stories this week: Blue Origin fly oldest and youngest humans, Falcon Heavy to launch Europa Clipper, and more

This week, the focus has been on Blue Origin. On Tuesday, they completed the first crewed flight of New Shepard, flying the oldest and youngest person to ever visit space.

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After addressing Electron failure, Rocket Lab prepares for their next launch

In May of this year, Rocket Lab attempted to launch their 20th mission to space. The mission ended with failure of the Electron’s upper stage, but now they are ready to move on to their next flight.

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Rocket Lab preparing for their return to flight; Strongback installed at new launchpad

Rocket Lab is continuing progress on their latest launch pad located at their New Zealand facility, LC-1B, with the installation of the strongback. The Electron launch vehicle has been grounded since an in-flight failure of the second stage engine. The anomaly investigation is still underway, but the FAA has cleared Electron for flight.

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Rocket Lab recovers first stage and begins flight review after second stage failure

Late last week, Rocket Lab launched its 20th Electron mission and their second Electron to be recovered. While the mission failed during the second stage burn, the first stage’s secondary mission seems successful.

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Rocket Lab faces another Electron second stage failure and payload loss on 20th mission

It’s a tough day for the folks at Rocket Lab. After a successful liftoff from New Zealand, the California rocket company experienced another failure of its Electron second stage. This sadly means that the payload, two BlackSky satellites, were lost during the mission.

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Rocket Lab plans for a second recovery attempt of their Electron rocket

Late last year Rocket Lab attempted its first recovery of an Electron rocket. Under the power of parachutes, the “Return to Sender” booster splashed down off the coast of New Zealand. While this booster didn’t return in a perfect reusable state, their next booster might fair better.

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BlackSky to launch 9 more satellites on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket

On the success of Rocket Lab’s most recent mission “They Go Up So Fast” the California-based launch provider announced that it will launch more global monitoring satellites for BlackSky. This is the biggest number of satellites the company has committed to launching to a single provider so far.

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[Update: Launched!] Rocket Lab prepares for next Electron launch, ‘They Go Up So Fast’

Rocket Lab is preparing for the 19th Mission of their Electron later today, at 6:30 pm Eastern time. This rideshare launch, “They Go Up So Fast”, will deliver 7 satellites into orbit for customers including BlackSky, the University of New South Wales, and the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense command.

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Rocket Lab to enter new launch markets with the announcement of a new medium-lift rocket

The launch provider that has made themselves famous for launching dedicated missions for SmallSats on their Electron rocket is moving up to a new market. In a video Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck announced they are building a medium-class launch vehicle that will be able to launch not just heavier and larger satellites but also in the future crew.

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Rocket Lab names and announces upcoming date for first Electron flight of 2021

Today Rocket Lab shared the mission name and patch for their first flight of an Electron rocket in 2021.

Rocket Lab recaps eventual launch year in action-packed video

After a busy year for the newer small sat launcher, Rocket Lab released a video recapping all of their achievements over 2020.

The California based small sat launcher provider conducted seven launches across 2020 and experienced its first failure of the Electron in flight. Rocket Lab was able to return to flying just two months later. While headquartered in California, Rocket Lab currently conducts most of its operations in New Zealand where they have their own launch complex with one operational launch pad with a second pad nearing completion.

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Rocket Lab CEO talks with Scott Manley over a game of Kerbal Space Program

Science YouTuber Scott Manley sat down with Rocket Lab CEO to talk about their year of launches while playing the popular space simulation game Kerbal Space Program.

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Watch Rocket Lab launch Japan’s Synspective StriX-a satellite into orbit with Electron today

Rocket Lab will kick off its 17th Electron launch this morning with its “The Owls Night Begins” mission. Currently, liftoff is scheduled to occur at 2:09 a.m. PST/5:09 a.m. ET from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

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Rocket Lab details next steps toward reusing future Electron boosters in 2021 after first splashdown [Updated]

Shortly after Rocket Lab successfully launched its “Return to Sender” mission last week, the company shared today that it had successfully recovered the booster. This is the first time in Rocket Lab’s history that it has recovered a flight proven rocket booster. Rocket Lab joins the ranks of SpaceX in executing booster recovery with intent to re-fly.

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Watch Rocket Lab’s mesmerizing footage of Electron booster separation in space

Rocket Lab’s latest video from space is only 32-seconds long, but you may want to set aside several minutes to roll the tape a few hundred times. It’s that good. The launch company shared the first-ever look at booster stage separation of its Electron rocket from space. Visually and sonically, you have to experience this for yourself.

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Rocket Lab’s next Electron launch, set for December 12, is called ‘The Owl’s Night Begins’

Rocket Lab has announced that its next Electron launch will take place on December 12 at 5:09 a.m. EST. The mission, named “The Owl’s Night Begins,” will mark Rocket Lab’s 17th overall mission.

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Watch Rocket Lab launch and attempt to recover its first booster for charity

Today, the California-based company Rocket Lab will attempt its most ambitious launch yet. The company will be launching 30 satellites, a 3D-printed gnome, and attempting its first recovery of a first-stage booster. 

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Rocket Lab attempting Electron booster recovery for the first time on ‘Return to Sender’ mission

A titanium garden gnome from Half-Life won’t be the only thing unique about Rocket Lab’s upcoming Electron launch. The 16th launch of Electron will also mark the first mission in which Rocket Lab attempts to recover a first stage booster SpaceX style.

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Rocket Lab sending Half-Life payload to space for Valve’s Gabe Newell in charity campaign

Rocket Lab’s 16th Electron mission will be a must-watch event when the small-sat launcher lifts off later this month. Gabe Newell, co-founder of game development company Valve, is donating $1 to charity for every viewer who watches the launch stream. What’s the Valve connection? Rocket Lab can explain:

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Rocket Lab plans to join in on the busy October launch schedule

Though they will not be launching from US soil just yet, the California-based rocket company plans to launch 10 CubeSats into low Earth orbit from their launch complex in Mahia, New Zealand. This mission will be its second since they experienced an in-flight failure in July.

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Rocket Lab’s return to flight: ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical!’ lifts off this week

California-based launch company Rocket Lab experienced an unexpected loss of vehicle in space after a successful liftoff from New Zealand in July. The development halted Rocket Lab’s increasingly steady cadence of sending customer payloads to space, but a quick discovery of the issue at fault minimized the launch provider’s time grounded.

Later this week, Rocket Lab will attempt its 14th Electron rocket mission from Launch Complex 1 at the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The mission called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical!’ will deploy a satellite called Sequoia for Capella Space.

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Rocket Lab experiences first Electron mission failure since original flight test in 2017

Rocket Lab ended its streak of 11 successful Electron rocket launches in a row on Saturday, July 4. The 13th flight of Electron resulted in a loss of vehicle about 10 minutes after what appeared to be a successful launch.

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