Rocket lab After the global COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted its work there, it has returned to active launch status from its first launchpad in New Zealand. This morning, it flew its 12th electron launch vehicle from its launch site on the Mahia Peninsula in NZ, carrying payloads from the US National Team Office (NRO), NASA and the University of New South Wales Canberra.
The launch took place at 1:13 AM EDT (5:13 AM local time) and went off without a hitch. Rocket Lab later confirmed that payload deployment also once actually went to plan electrons Reached its target orbit.
Rocket Lab is gearing up for a significant expansion of its launch capabilities, with a new launch site on Walls Island in Virginia. The launch facility is now open, and its first mission was scheduled to fly earlier this year, but NASA’s COVID-19 dissemination efforts were delayed as a result of the facility’s closure and focus. The reason was that the launch was pushed back. Mission required.
New Zealand is now completely out of lockdown, however – the country’s rapid action and relatively small, dispersed population allowed it to covid-19 cases fairly quickly, and reduce the infection rate to zero. This is good news for Rocket Lab’s current operation and ongoing work to establish a second launch site at its Mahia facility, which is running well and may come into operation sometime later this year.