Residents across the East Coast of the United States had the opportunity to enjoy a weekday evening rocket launch on Tuesday, as long as the skies were clear. And space boothope this was just the first of many such occurrences.
The company has carried out more than 30 launches of its Electron rocket from its complex in New Zealand. On Tuesday, it lifted off successfully for the first time from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Launch Complex 2, which is located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
The Electron lifted off just after 6 p.m. ET. You can rewatch the entire mission below.
The mission, dubbed Virginia Is for Launch Lovers, sends satellites into orbit for Hawkeye 360, a company dedicated to detecting and geolocating radio signals from space.
Most U.S. space launches depart from Florida. But Wallops is centrally located on the Atlantic coast, making the launch potentially visible across a wide region, stretching from South Carolina to Maine and including tens of millions of people. Prepared and lucky photographers from across the region posted Electron’s flight through the atmosphere on social media.
Rocket Lab has become the second most prolific commercial launch vendor in recent years, behind only SpaceX. The company says its second launch pad in Virginia will allow it to support more than 130 missions per year. Electron is a smaller rocket than SpaceX’s Falcon 9, designed to put smaller satellites into orbit.
Rocket Lab is developing a larger rocket called Neutron and is also looking to perfect a way to reuse its booster by.