Rocket Lab launches first HASTE mission

Launching at 9:24 PM ET on June 17th (01:24 UTC June 18th), the first Rocket Lab HASTE launch vehicle successfully lifted off from Launch Complex-2 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The rocket, derived from the company’s Electron launch vehicle, launched on a sub-orbital trajectory with a confidential customers payload, mission success was declared just over an hour after the initial launch. The program was just announced 2 months ago in April, showing that Rocket Lab is capable of providing high-cadence test launch vehicles for various customers.

HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron) is capable of launching various payloads weighing up to 1,540 lb (700 kg) including air-breathing test beds, ballistic re-entry capsules, boost-glide payloads, and uses custom payload fairings to better fit around the test articles. Based on NOTMARs (Notice to Mariners) the payload made a splashdown roughly 850 miles (1,367 km) downrange after launching at a 38-degree inclination.

The launch was not acknowledged by Rocket Lab until after mission success was declared and the launch only came to light a few days before the launch from observers who watch for FAA flight restrictions over space launch complexes. The lack of a live stream was quite surprising considering they have done past orbital launches for the National Reconnaissance Office and the Department of Defense, however, it is highly likely their paying customer did not want the launch live streamed.

One thing that will certainly be closely followed is how this affects $RKLB, as this successful launch shows another steady stream of income for the company. These launches are operated under Rocket Lab’s subsidiary Rocket Lab National Security. which was created for national security launches for the U.S. Government and its allies.

Next up for Rocket Lab, is the launch of NASA’s ACS-3 (Advanced Composite Solar Sail System) from Launch Complex-1 in New Zealand, currently scheduled for late June or early July.

Disclosure: Richard Angle is not an RKLB shareholder.

Questions or comments? Shoot me an email at, or Tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

Richard Angle: Launch journalist, specializing in launch photography. Based on the Space Coast, a short drive from Cape Canaveral and the SpaceX launch pads.
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