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Rocket Lab launches 35th Electron rocket

It was the company's second Electron mission from Launch Complex 2, located in Virginia, within seven days of its first mission.
Photo credit: Rocket Lab

Spaceflight launched Rocket Lab‘s 35th Electron rocket from Mahia, New Zealand, deploying two multispectral Gen-2 satellites for BlackSky.

The mission took place just seven days following the company’s previous Electron mission from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia, setting a new company record for the fastest turnaround between Electron missions.

The mission, named The Beat Goes On, lifted off from Pad B at Launch Complex 1, Rocket Lab’s private launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said: “Electron has repeatedly proven itself as a reliable constellation builder and today we’re proud to deliver mission success once again for BlackSky and Spaceflight after many previous missions together. Launching two successful missions just seven days apart from two different hemispheres is a real demonstration of responsive space in action, and successfully splashing down Electron’s first stage as part of our reusability programme is the icing on the cake.”

The Beat Goes On was Rocket Lab’s seventh launch for BlackSky since 2019, helping to build out BlackSky’s growing real-time geospatial intelligence constellation.

In addition to delivering BlackSky’s satellites to orbit, Rocket Lab accomplished a successful ocean splashdown of Electron’s first stage in an effort to make Electron the world’s first reusable orbital small launch vehicle.

Rocket Lab is on track this year to surpass its launch record of nine launches set in 2022 with 15 planned launches. Upcoming disclosed Electron missions in 2023 include two launches for the NASA TROPICS constellation, the first of five dedicated missions for Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity provider Kinéis; several launches for Capella Space, and the launch of a mission to demonstrate space debris removal technology by Astroscale Japan.