Rocket Lab successfully launches Electron rocket from Virginia coast

Rising SpaceX competitor launches satellite for its ‘Stronger Together’ mission

Rocket Lab's Electron rocket launched from Launch Complex 2 located on Wallops Island, Virginia, Jan. 24, 2023. Photo Credit Rocket Lab Brady Kenniston ALT text: A nighttime photography of a black and white rocket just seconds launching off a launch pad, with a plume of bright white smoke just underneath. (Brady Kenniston, Brady Kenniston)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – You may not recognize the company’s name, but its missions (and their unique names) have made headlines across the world.

Rocket Lab, a California-based company, shifted many of its operations from New Zealand to NASA’s Wallops Island spaceport and is now set to launch its second mission of 2023 with a planned liftoff Thursday evening on Virginia’s east coast.

Liftoff of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket went off at 6:38 p.m. Thursday, delayed from its initial liftoff time of 6 p.m. The launch window was set to last for two hours.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]

Previous launch attempts this month were delayed by poor weather conditions.

Thursday’s mission, called “Stronger Together,” consists of two spacecraft from Capella Space and marks the first of four missions for the San Francisco-based customer.

Using its lightweight Electron orbital rockets, Rocket Lab has become a lead launcher of small satellites with plans to build a larger reusable Neutron first-stage rocket as early as 2024.

In May 2022, the Electron booster attempted recovery by a helicopter using guided parachutes.

The company also has a blast naming its missions.

Some of its previous mission names include: “Pics or It Didn’t Happen,” I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical,” and “Return to Sender.”

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Katrina Scales joined News 6 as a TV producer in June 2021.