Private rocket launch startup Rocket Lab has succeeded in launching its ‘Make It Rain’ mission, which took off yesterday from the company’s private Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. On board Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket (its seventh to launch so far) were multiple satellites flow for various clients in a rideshare arrangement brokered by Rocket Lab client Spaceflight.
Payloads for the launch included a satellite for Spaceflight subsidiary BlackSky, which will join its existing orbital imaging constellation. There was also a CubeSat operated by the Melbourne Space Program, and two Prometheus satellites launched for the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Rocket Lab had to delay launch a couple of times earlier in the week owing to suboptimal launch conditions, but yesterday’s mission went off without a hitch at 12:30 AM EDT/4:30 PM NZST. After successfully lifting off and achieving orbit, Rocket Lab’s Electron also delayed all of its payloads to their target orbits as planned.
Later this year, Rocket Lab hopes to have a second privately owned launch complex fully constructed and operational, located in Virginia on Wallops Island. The company, founded by engineer Peter Beck, intends to be able to serve both U.S. government and commercial missions as frequently as monthly from this second launch site.