Private spaceflight company Rocket Lab has announced the launch window of its debut Electron rocket mission from US soil. The “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” mission is set to take off on January 23rd, 2023, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia from 6PM to 8PM ET.
If successful, the mission will deploy three radio frequency monitoring satellites into low orbit for Virginia-based company HawkEye 360, the first of 15 to be deployed by Rocket Lab by 2024. This first mission was initially scheduled to launch in December 2022 but was pushed back due to unfavorable weather conditions.
“Electron has made history by becoming the most launched small orbital rocket globally,” said Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck via a press release. “With the support of our partners at NASA and Virginia Space, we look forward to building on this strong heritage of mission success with the first of many missions from Wallops.”
The California-based Rocket Lab has already launched 152 small satellites from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand since 2017. The delivery system — its orbital Electron rocket — has flown more than 30 orbital missions to date. The company notably tried to catch one of its Electron rockets in midair last year using a helicopter in a bid to cut down on the manufacturing cost by reusing equipment. While it technically succeeded in catching the rocket, the helicopter then dropped it into the ocean.
A livestream of the launch will be available starting around 40 minutes prior to liftoff on the Rocket Lab website.