Rocket Lab completes final launch tests ahead of the first electronic mission from American soil

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.–(COMMERCIAL THREAD)–Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading space and launch systems company, today confirmed that it has completed final launch tests and is ready for takeoff on her first mission from US soil as soon as 7 December. The mission will take place from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, a launch pad developed to support US Electron missions for government and commercial customers.

Known as a Wet Dress Rehearsal, this pre-launch exercise sees the launch team carry out the same activities and procedures they would conduct on launch day to ensure the Electron rocket, launch pad and support systems are ready for flight. During the trials, Electron was taken to the launch pad and lifted vertically before being loaded with fuel and liquid oxygen to verify refueling procedures. The launch team then conducted a full launch countdown, ending before the final stage of engine firing of Electron’s Rutherford engines. Electron was then drained of fuel and returned to Rocket Lab’s Integration and Control Facility (ICF) at Wallops Research Park to await launch during a window extending from December 7 to 20.

The “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” mission will deploy three satellites for radiofrequency geospatial analysis provider HawkEye 360, with integration of those satellites into Electron happening in the next few days at Rocket Lab’s ICF. Meanwhile, NASA is continuing to make progress in certifying its Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) software required for launch. This will be the first time an AFTS has flown from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, representing a valuable new capability for the nation.

While “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” will be the first Electron launch from the United States, Rocket Lab has already conducted 32 Electron missions from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, bringing 152 satellites into orbit for customers including NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office , DARPA, the US Space Force and a number of commercial constellation operators. Electron is already the most frequently launched small orbital rocket globally, and now, with the capacity of Launch Complex 1 and 2 pads combined, Rocket Lab has more than 130 Electron launch opportunities each year.

The “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” mission will be the first of three Electron launches for the HawkEye 360​​under a contract that will see Rocket Lab deliver 15 satellites to low Earth orbit between late 2022 and 2024. These missions they will grow the HawkEye 360 ​​constellation of radio frequency monitoring satellites, enabling the company to provide better precise geolocation of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world.

“This mission is a significant moment for Rocket Lab and a critical milestone in Virginia’s long legacy in spaceflight,” said Rocket Lab CEO and Founder Peter Beck. “Now that swimsuit trials are complete, we are thrilled to move into launch operations for this historic mission.”

“We are honored to support the launch of this historic mission,” said Ted Mercer, CEO and executive director of Virginia Space. “In addition to being Rocket Lab’s first and only U.S. launch location, we will also be building rockets and processing their payload right here in Accomack County, something that has never been done in Virginia. Our partnership with Rocket Lab is a unique opportunity for the Commonwealth of Virginia to create long-term economic development opportunities in the form of high-paying jobs, boost tourism tourism, and build new facilities on the East Coast.”

Where to watch the launch:

Launch fans eager to see Electron soar into the Virginia skies for the first time can visit viewing locations including Robert Reed Park on Main Street or the Beach Road that runs through the area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Atlantic beaches also offer good viewing locations. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open for this launch. A live launch webcast will also be available at from approximately T-40 minutes.

Media may request credentials to cover the launch by emailing a request to

+ ABOUT Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with a proven track record of successful missions. We provide reliable launch services, satellite manufacturing, spacecraft components, and in-orbit management solutions that make accessing space faster, easier, and more cost-effective. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the small Electron orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform, and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron Launch Vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 152 satellites into orbit for public and private sector organizations, enabling homeland security operations, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon space platform has been selected to support NASA’s missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first privately-owned commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a second launch site in Virginia, USA, which is expected to become operational in 2022. Learn more more, visit www.

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