Rocket Lab USA, Inc. completed their final launch rehearsal for the Electron launch of three, HawkEye 360 satellites in November and was preparing for lift-off on December 7 — however, that launch has now been moved to December 18th, as all important Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA paperwork for range activities requires completion before the launch is permitted to occur.
This mission will occur 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 U.S. Electron missions for government and commercial customers.
The pre-launch exercise saw the launch team carry out identical activities they will conduct on launch day to ensure the Electron rocket, launch pad, and supporting systems are ready for flight.
Called the “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” mission, three satellites are scheduled to be deployed for HawkEye 360. Additionally, NASA’s Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) software will be flown for the first time from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, representing a valuable, new capability for the nation.
This mission will be the first of three Electron launches for HawkEye 360 in a contract that will see the company deliver 15 satellites to LEO between late 2022 and 2024.
These missions will grow HawkEye 360’s constellation of radio frequency monitoring satellites, enabling the company to better deliver precise geolocation of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world.
A live launch webcast will also be available at www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream approximately T-40 minutes prior to lift-off.
While “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” will be Electron’s first launch from the U.S., Rocket Lab has already conducted 32 Electron missions from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, delivering 152 satellites to orbit for customers including NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), DARPA, the U.S. Space Force (USSF) and a range of commercial constellation operators. Electron now has the capacity to launch from the pads at Launch Complex 1 and 2 combined — the company has more than 130 Electron launch opportunities every year.