Rocket Lab successfully launches the Live and Let Fly mission

Electron launches the NROL-123 mission (Credit Rocket Lab/Austin Adams)

Rocket Lab successfully launched the Live and Let Fly mission last Thursday.

Launching at 3:25 am ET, Electron successfully launched the Live and Let Fly mission, a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, on March 21st.

This launch marked the company’s fifth consecutive successful mission, the fourth for the year, and the first from its U.S.-based launch pad at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The mission for the NRO, dubbed NROL-123, was actually 4 separate payloads, satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell on X indicated that they were, USA 352 (NRO payload), Aerocube 16A/16B, and MOLA. The NRO stated the launch was acquired under the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract.

A detailed shot of Electron’s engines as it launches the NROL-123 mission from Virginia (Credit Rocket Lab/Brady Kenniston)

This was the 5th mission that Rocket Lab has launched for the NRO, with the first 4 occurring from the company’s launch pad on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab will now switch gears and head back to New Zealand for their next launch, which could come as soon as next month, and will launch the ACS3 cubesat for NASA and a high-resolution optical cubesat for the Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology.

The ACS3 cubesat will demonstrate deployable booms made of composite materials that support a solar sail. Once fully deployed, the sail will be nearly 30 feet per side.

If Rocket Lab is able to move forward with a launch next month, it will help them maintain their pace toward around 22 launches in 2024, during which they will be continuing progress on their Neutron rocket that they hope to fly for the first time in late 2024 or possibly early 2025.

Disclosure: Richard Angle is not an RKLB shareholder.

Questions or comments? How do you think Rocket Lab will do in 2024? Shoot me an email at, or Tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

Rocket Lab successfully launches the Live and Let Fly mission
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