Rocket Lab’s ‘mystery launch’ stirs interest

June 16, 2023
RocketLab Launch

A rocket is expected to take off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Accomack County in the near future, but you won’t be able to watch or listen to it.

Officials with NASA say Rocket Lab is planning a launch with a window of June 15 to 20. The exact time of the launch is not known but they say it will be sometime in the evening. There will not be a live stream and the Wallops Visitor Center will not be open.

According to an article at, circumstantial evidence points to the first-ever liftoff of Rocket Lab’s new suborbital testbed rocket.

The article continues: “That launcher is called HASTE, short for “Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron.” As that name suggests, HASTE is derived from the workhorse Electron and is designed to help test technologies for hypersonic craft — highly maneuverable vehicles capable of flying at least five times the speed of sound.

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“HASTE can haul up to 1,540 pounds (700 kilograms) of payload aloft, whereas Electron can deliver a maximum of 660 pounds (300 kg) to low Earth orbit. The suborbital rocket also features a modified version of Electron’s “kick stage” specialized for the deployment of hypersonic payloads, Rocket Lab said in an April 17 statement that announced HASTE’s existence

“The suborbital rocket is scheduled to make its debut right about now, on a mission whose details are hard to come by, according to that statement.

“HASTE provides reliable, high-cadence flight test opportunities needed to advance hypersonic system technology development, with the inaugural launch scheduled to take place in the first half of 2023 for a confidential customer,” Rocket Lab representatives said in the statement.

“HASTE will be operated primarily by Rocket Lab National Security, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company dedicated to launching missions for the defense and intelligence communities of the United States and its allies.

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“The new suborbital rocket will launch only from Rocket Lab’s pad at Wallops, the April 17 statement added. (The company also has a launch complex on the Mahia Peninsula, on the North Island of New Zealand.)”

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