Rocket Lab launches first flight from Virginia’s Eastern Shore

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Science

A Rocket Lab Electron booster blasted off from Virginia’s Eastern Shore Tuesday, propelling three radio-mapping satellites into orbit in the company’s first launch from U.S. soil. It was the first commercial rocket to utilize NASA-developed autonomous self-destruct software designed to reduce costs while ensuring public safety.”This flight just doesn’t symbolize another launch pad for Rocket Lab,” company founder Peter Beck said. “It’s standing up of a new capability for the nation. It’s a new AFTS (automated flight termination) system being brought online for the industry. And it’s a new rocket to Virginia and to the Wallops Flight Facility.”Running a month late because of weather and holiday scheduling, the 60-foot-tall Electron blasted off with a burst of fiery exhaust at 6 p.m. EST, and quickly shot away from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), on NASA’s Wallops Island, Virginia, flight facility. A Rocket Lab Electron booster powered by 3D-printed engines roars away from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Island, Virginia, flight facility, carrying three Hawkeye 360 radio-mapping satellites. It was Rocket Lab’s first launch from U.S. soil after 32 flights from the company’s New Zealand launch complex. / Credit: Rocket LabAll rockets launched from the U.S. are required to carry self-destruct systems capable of quickly destroying an off-course booster before any debr …

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