Rocket Lab launches three U.S. military satellites

Rocket Lab launch
Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle lifts off from its New Zealand pad. (Rocket Lab via YouTube)

Rocket Lab sent a trio of research satellites for the U.S. military into orbit tonight from a launch pad that’s thousands of miles from America’s shores, in New Zealand.

The Los Angeles-based company’s low-cost Electron rocket lifted off from its seaside launch facility on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 6 p.m. May 5 local time (11 p.m. PT May 4). It was Rocket Lab’s second launch of 2019, and its sixth mission overall.

After liftoff, the Electron’s second stage separated from the first-stage booster, and then released its “kick stage” to deploy the satellites in orbit.

“Perfect flight, complete mission success, all payloads deployed!!” Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck tweeted.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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